Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Song Peddler of the Pont Neuf by Laura Lebow (Review and Giveaway!)

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 Details:

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)

Book Description:

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. 

Paul Gastebois, a confidential inquirer, isn’t interested in politics. He’s busy with the daily tedium of detective work—following foreign diplomats for the Parisian police and helping artisanal guilds enforce their rules. He’d like to make a name for himself solving crimes, but few cases have come his way. Then Paul is hired to find a song peddler who sang bawdy songs to crowds on the Pont Neuf. The missing man had seen someone from his past on the bridge, and had vanished a few weeks later.

As Paul searches Paris for the song peddler, his investigation leads him into the world of underground publishing, where anonymous writers attack King Louis and his queen, Marie-Antoinette, and foreign governments manipulate public opinion for their own purposes. When a ruthless killer strikes, Paul must unravel the mystery of the song peddler’s disappearance, or risk losing everything he holds most dear.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

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.

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

Laura Lebow holds a degree in European History from Brandeis University and a Master in City Planning from MIT. A long-time mystery reader and history buff, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her previous fascinating historical mysteries include The Figaro Murders and Sent to the Devil, both published by Minotaur Press.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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  1. so glad you discovered and enjoyed Laura Lebow thanks to France Book Tours! I highly recommend her 2 other historical mysteries, around the world of opera. so well done as well

    1. Yes, I have to look into her previous books that would certainly appeal to me, especially since they are set in Italy and are about opera!

  2. Thanks for the lovely review, Laura! I'm glad you enjoyed the book ...

  3. The Glass Blowers by Daphne DuMaurier. I enjoyed learning about this wonderful feature and giveaway which interests me greatly. Thanks for this fascinating review and series.


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