This is my first book in the Passport to Peril series. Here is a list of the prior books in order: 1-Alpine for You, 2-Top O'the Mournin' 3-Pasta Imperfect, 4-Hula Done It? 5-G'Day to Die 6-Norway to Hide 7-Dutch Me Deadly 8-Bonnie of Evidence and this newest set in France. I liked the idea of different vacation spots for the story setting.
Copyright: May 2014 (Midnight Ink) 312 pgs
Series: 9th in Passport to Peril Mystery series
Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy Mystery
Main Characters: Emily Andrew-Miceli, Travel Agency Owner and Seniors Tour Escort
Setting: Modern Day, Normandy to Paris France
Obtained Through: Personal Purchase
When Emily Andrew-Miceli escorts her band of smart-phone addicted offbeat seniors on a cruise down the Seine River in France, she hoped for a murder-free vacation. Also on the cruise are the owner of a cosmetics company (Mary Kay-like) with his wife and competitive blond sales ladies and a group of morticians embroiled in casket vs. cremation rivalry. During their visit to Normandy, one tourist will find an old flame while another will be murdered. Additionally, the story of a World War II traitor against the French resistance reaches out to be solved. There are plenty of suspects, but motive seems to be elusive, then the murderer strikes again.
Emily is a nice woman who enjoys caring for the seniors she escorts on foreign travel. She doesn't set out to sleuth, but is observant and curious. The blond sales reps are Bobbi, Dawna, and Krystal who are very blond and very Texan. These three characters are snotty, ignorant, and brash. The owner of the cosmetics company is Victor and his wife Virginia who snipes at the blonds relentlessly. It is a miracle that Victor and Virginia are still married with his indulging his girls while his wife despises them. Then there is the mortician Woody who is always harsh on his son, Cal, who will take over the business yet prefers cremation. I could have used a listing of the recurring characters to keep them all clear. Here is the regular cast of Iowa seniors that Emily is escorting: Emily's Grandmother Marion known as Nana, Alice, Osmond, Helen, Margi, Dick Stolee, Dick Tieg, Bernice, Lucille, Grace, George, and Tilly. They are a quarrelsome and cantankerous group which offers some chuckles...or irritation, depending upon your sense of humor. I wonder about having the exact same group in each story though. Emily's ex-husband Jack...now Jackie is working for the cosmetics company and is on the cruise. FYI for fans, Emily's husband Etienne isn't in this book. Characters were a bit exaggerated for the most part, which is acceptable in a cozy.
This book takes you from the Normandy beach, through medieval alleyways of Vernon, to Monet’s famous water-lily garden at Giverny, and finally to Paris. The descriptions were fascinating, incorporating tidbits of history that added to the experience without overwhelming the mystery.
The plot is nicely conceived and carried out, on par for a cozy mystery. The pacing stays easy and breezy, perfect for a light read when you don't want a heavy or gritty book. This series is known for its puns and quips, While I found parts funny, others might not. It is tough to tell until you try it. There is a killer reveal and confrontation that worked well. The wrap-up was smile-worthy. This is a fun, breezy mystery with plenty of quirky characters in exciting settings, feeding the armchair sleuth and traveler in one book.
Rating: Good - A fun read with plenty of humor, but check to see if it coincides with your humor.
Have you read any of this series? If so, what did you think of the changing setting? Of the gang of senior recurring characters?
Here is a short video with highlights of a river cruise that stops at the same places as the book to set the mood of the book.