Welcome to the review tour for The Shady Chateau, another installment in Ana T. Drew's charming Provence Cozy Mysteries series! Today I have an excerpt for you as well as my thoughts on this story. Be sure to follow the tour for more. Leave questions and comments for the author along the way. And best of luck entering the giveaway!
Beware, dressing up as Napoleon can get you killed!
Provence baker Julie Cavallo and her grandma sign up for a Napoleonic re-enactment at a nearby chateau. The event includes theatricals, war games, and costume balls — all courtesy of the host and pillar of the local community, Baron Gustave Cordes d’Auzon.
What a welcome break from baking and catering...
and from pining for a tall, dark, and unsociable captain of the gendarmerie.
Unlike the captain, the weekend guests at the castle love conversing. Some are so flamboyant they outshine even Julie’s badass grandma Rose!
It’s all fun and cosplay… until the lord of the castle turns up dead.
Three unlikely culprits plead guilty.
Each gives the gendarmes a different motive.
Each insists they did it alone.
Who’s lying? And why?
And who really killed the baron?
If you’re a fan of Murder on the Orient Express and country house mysteries, then you’ll love this book. It will regale you with a dogged amateur sleuth, a puzzling ensemble of suspects, and a tangled web of lies.
Stepping closer, I check if there’s a Hands Off sign anywhere near or on Napoleon’s papier-mâché bust. Satisfied that there’s none, I give in to every human’s impulse in the presence of an unusual object. I touch it.
I run my fingertips along the shoulders, then the chin, lips, cheekbones, and nose before sliding up to the iconic bicorne hat.
It’s painted in subtle shades of black that imitate wool felt to perfection. A revolutionary cockade—a red, white, and blue rosette fashioned out of ribbon—is pinned to the front. The cockade is cut from real fabric.
Naturally, I trace its outer red edge, then the blue circle in the middle, and then the inner white. To my surprise, my index finger meets a hard little button in the center of the white. Tentatively, I push it down, because… Because what else do you do when you find a button?
With a soft creaking sound, the bookcase behind the console slides away, revealing an opening the size of a door in the wall.
Carefully, I step in.
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