The Song Peddler of the Pont Neuf by Laura Lebow is the first book in the Paul Gastebois Mystery Series. This book came highly recommended and I was pleased by how much I enjoyed it.
Book Title: The Song Peddler of the Pont Neuf by Laura Lebow
Category: Adult Fiction, 410 pages
Genre: Historical mystery
Publisher: Settecento Press
Release date: September 4, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 (No bad language except one f-word, mild murder mystery violence, brief description of rape scene)
PARIS, 1788: Facing bankruptcy after years of expensive wars, King Louis XVI calls a meeting of the Estates General, the ancient French legislature which has not met in 174 years. The city hums with talk about modernizing the assembly and changing France into a constitutional monarchy.
The Song Peddler of the Pont Neuf by Laura Lebow is the first book in the Paul Gastebois Mystery Series. This book came highly recommended and I was pleased by how much I enjoyed it. I am now a new fan and look forward to reading more books by this author.
I liked several things about this book, the first is that it was a well-researched, well-written mystery story that takes place in 18th century Paris. We are introduced to a young man named Paul Gastebois who is a confidential inquirer, what can be considered a private investigator today. He does some investigative work for the police spying on foreign diplomats which is not that exciting until he is hired to find a missing person, a song peddler who usually works on the Pont Neuf bridge.
Through his work on this case, we get to know more about our main character, Paul who is very likable. He has a sister who he adores and dotes on, a brother who serves as a priest and with whom he had a falling out, and he is well liked by his friends. Unlike the many books set in this era that I read that feature the aristocratic French, the characters in this book are lower middle-class, eking out a living in hard times.
Lebow brings 18th century Paris on the brink of the French Revolution to life with its political tensions, poverty and daily life for its suffering citizens. And it is in this setting that the mystery unfolds with some good twists that I did not see coming. The only thing missing for me were French expression that would have made the book even more atmospheric. I am fluent in French, living in Quebec and I know how important language is when it comes to culture. However, this did not detract from the story, but is my personal preference when reading books set in foreign countries.
If you enjoy historical mysteries and especially those set in France, The Song Peddler of the Pont Neuf is the perfect book to cozy up with. I enjoyed it thoroughly and eagerly await the next book in the series.
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