What happened to Jacques Gaillard? The brilliant teacher at the École Nationale d’Administration, who trained some of France’s best and brightest as future prime ministers and presidents, vanished ten years ago, presumably from Paris. This ten-year-old mystery inspires a bet—one that Enzo Macleod, a biologist teaching in Toulouse, France, instead of pursuing a brilliant career in forensics back home in Scotland, can ill afford to lose. The wager is that Enzo can find out what happened to Jacques Gaillard by applying new science to a cold case.
Enzo goes to Paris to meet journalist Roger Raffin, the author of a book on seven celebrated unsolved murders, the assumption being that Gaillard is dead. He needs Raffin’s notes, and armed with these, he begins his quest. It quickly has him touring landmarks such as the Paris catacombs and a château in Champagne, digging up relics and bones. Then Enzo finds the actual head of Jacques Gaillard. The artifacts buried with the skull set him to interpreting the clues they provide and following in someone’s footsteps—maybe more than one someone—seeking the rest of Gaillard’s remains and reviewing some ancient and recent history. As with any quest, it’s as much discovery as detection, and Enzo, despite all his missteps, proves to be an ace investigator, scientific and intuitive, who definitely meets his goals.
Peter May is a Scottish television screenwriter, novelist, and crime writer. He has won several literary awards for his novels.
©2006 Peter May (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“This travelogue-cum-murder mystery makes for a fun puzzle.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A thoroughly engaging puzzle.” (Library Journal)
The story is entirely unconvincing, but it takes place in numerous picturesque parts of France, so there is a vicarious pleasure in the protagonist's travels. Doyle is a good reader, but his rendition of the younger daughter's voice is so whiny and "precious" that it made this reader hope she'd meet a quick end. I gave the story 3 stars and the performance 4. Somehow that added up, in the Amazon scheme of things, as 4 stars, which is much too high.
Improbably silly plot that tries to show how familiar the author is with those arrogant French intellectuals.
His gee-whiz depiction of the wonders of google and cell phones seems more outdated than the old stories of detectives searching for phone booths.
As much as I usually enjoy narrator Simon Vance, his attempts at a French accent were good enough to dazzle and/or confuse English speakers and bad enough to truly annoy French speakers.
Enzo McLeod, a big Scott who now lives and teaches forensic science in France, has a bet with a friend that he can solve a number of cold cases using modern forensic science. He tackles one case per book. Naturally, lots of people do not want them solved and so mayhem ensures.
Enzo has a cast of interesting recurring characters and is written with good humor. Entertaining and interesting books.
I love to read books set in interesting places or historical settings. I especially love mysteries and thrillers.
I am noticing that more and more mysteries seem to go with the "cold case" instead of current crime story. I find that most cold cases are enjoyable, as long as you realize that most of the action will be at the end of the book instead of a steady pacing of it throughout the book. That doesn't mean that "cold cases" are boring and slow, just different. In fact, the writer has to be so much more clever in offering clues that are found many years after the crime.
For this story, the clues are offered as a scavenger hunt made possible with matching the found relics at crime sites with internet searches. I enjoyed the race around France finding the next set of bones and clues as I enjoyed the actual mystery story. The only reason I rated the story 4 stars is that the final motive is less than satisfying.
The detective, Enzo Macleod, is actually a biologist teaching in Toulouse, France instead of pursuing a career in forensics in his Scottish homeland. Peter May did an excellent job of building Enzo's character throughout the book. However, Simon Vance was a master of bringing Enzo and all the other wonderful characters to life. How does Simon Vance do such distinctly different voices and accents for each character without a single glitch? Simon Vance even voices women so well without the high falsetto voice that so many other narrators do. Simon Vance kept my interest up as much as Peter May did for this audio book. Thanks for a fun experience with this audio book.
Yes, absolutely. Absorbing story.
Yes, This story was never boring. All of the clues and how Enzo and the other piece it all to gether was very interesting.
There are few narrators better than Simon Vance. He moves effortlessly from French accents (male and female) with Scottish. Very convincing in all.
oh yes. both laugh and cry.
I didn't want this book to end. I will immediately get the next in the series and explore the others written by Peter May.
Agatha Christie did this kind of story much better. All that working from clue to clue to reach a conclusion, with the narrative serving as background for the murder-solving blueprint, is now tired. I expect characters who are complex and interesting on their own accounts. The hero rushes around and risks his life for a bet. It's not believable, and it's certainly not enjoyable.
Simon Vance is perfect. If anyone could have saved this, it would have been he.
Too much description over and over about same things.
Yes but he needs less detail and more thrill.
I think Enso could develop into a very interesting character.
A man's got to do what a man's got to do..
The book moves along the logic of the Da Vinci Code. An esoteric setup with the smart investigator/scientist uncovering step by step the clues that will lead to the final revelation of the TRUTH. Characters not well developed and story ultimately predictable.
"Dry Bones, dry story"
Too many unnecessary street / place names as though to prove that the author had done his research and knew France
"Good murder mystery for Francophiles/Francophones"
I would recommend, but would tell them I found the book entertaining, if a little predictable at times, and it went at a good pace with enough excitement to make me stay in bed one Sunday morning to listen to the last 6 chapters! Peter May writes about women from a man's perspective - I don't mean sexist, but more how he would like women to be than how they really are! (Work this out, men!) Nevertheless, I enjoyed his story and enjoyed his wry humour - maybe because I am a Scot and it is such a Scottish thing. Other writers criticise the accents - well, one narrator can only produce so many accents - as a Scot I found it quite authentic (West of Scotland). Also a lot of French used - seems logical to me as it was first printed in French, from what I can gather from internet, and why change those bits when it helps you to learn a bit more of the language of the country in which it is set. Good for those interested in France and happy to learn a bit about the language and country. I've spent a bit of time in France and found it all quite authentic, en fait.
Kinda guessed half way through who the main perpetrator was/would be, but found the ending quite exciting - as mentioned above. The 'changes' in the family relationships were also quite predictable - but perfectly believable.
Oh, Enzo! And it seemed to me that Simon Vance enjoyed being Enzo and tried very hard to get his character right - and I thought the accent was fine.
Maybe the loss of his second wife. He appeared to have discarded the first one easily enough but he didn't have time to get tired of the second one. Nor did he seem to have struck up any other long-term relationships in the 18 or so years since she had died, so maybe it was the real thing. (I'm a cynic!)
Peter May is not Georges Simenon or Ian Rankin, but I thought the book might be of interest to readers of these two authors. It was well written and I enjoyed all the bits of 'education' e.g. Champagne production; and the catacombs of Paris.
A different narrator - the one who did Entry Island was much better.
The accents were dire - I tried to proceed but I just couldn't get past them.
Do try other Peter May books!
"First and last in the series for me"
Bought this as I loved the Lewis Trilogy but was quite disappointed with this. Wasn't sure what I was listening to really. It was a cross between Dan Brown, Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie and at times it was like an Enid Blyton famous five novel. Didn't do it for me and although it brightened up half way through I won't be bothering with the rest of the series.
"A thrilling race across France!"
This is another in a series about Enzo McLeod, his family ties, and the solving of mysteries that he does so well.
"Black Light Blue" is another of the Enzo McLeod series where the main character has moved from one solution to the next in a series of unsolved crimes.
Enzo takes us with him, into the undeground tunnels below Paris and the ski slopes elswhere in France. We are "feeling" his fears and joy as he searches for the solution to the current unsolved crime.
No, it is too long, but there is time to develop the characters well.
We have enjoyed listening to many of Peter May's Books and found each one to be different, but with some common sequences, depending on the series.
I was put off starting this series from Peter May because of rather lukewarm reviews. I did however finally take the plunge and I'm glad I did because I actually quite enjoyed. No this is nothing like the tremendous Lewis series - but then this isn't a dark,brooding tale. No it isn't as atmospheric as the Chinese detective series either - in fact the reviewer that said it was a cross between Dan Brown & the Famous Five wasn't actually far off the mark. For a bet Enzo is investigating a number of unsolved murders using today's forensic science (well loosely anyway) - and the books are just nice easy listening. Enzo does have a tendency to fluctuate between sounding like BIlly Connelly and Sean Connery, but he's a likeable enough character and the plots and clues a lot more probable than some books I have read or listened to. I cannot understand the complaints about Peter Vance's accents, I think the reading is excellent with just enough accents thrown in to easily recognise the cast of characters. No this may not set the world alight but its a decent enough series and well worth a listen.
"Back to the islands for me"
I just didn't get this. In comparison to the Lewis trilogy the book was a pale shadow. Characters not brilliant and the plot didn't answer the most basic question "why bother"?
"Oh Dear - the accents"
What a disappointment! After listening to the 2 Hebridean novels my hopes were high but this book did not engage me. As a print book it may have been better although the constant use of words like ‘sejours’ is an irritating and useless device in creating a feeling of France. However, it was the narration which really spoiled it for me. The narrative was very pleasant to listen to but the dialogue was almost unbelievable. Both French and Scottish men ‘growled’ out a tortured transposition of vowel sounds – ‘Allo, ‘Allo meets Hey Jimmy.
The pace of the story was good until the last section where it was very drawn out. Descriptions of areas of France were fascinating but characters are quite shallow
"Not bad but not in same league as Lewis trilogy"
My title says it all, this isn't a bad book but I have definitely been spoilt by the Lewis series. This book is not as good. All that said, I found the book ok. I did have the rest of the Enzo series on my wish list but will only consider buying them if they are in a future 3 for 2 deal or other offer.
"First disappointment from Audible"
The story was ridiculous. The performance was disappointing - poor French accent made me grind my teeth - there must be actors who can reproduce a decent accent. There was far too much detail of the Parisian road system and the 'trail' was more like more like France by GPS. Sadly, I couldn't even be bothered to finish this book. The author should stick to the Police series, he's on surer footing there.
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