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The Bookseller by Mark Pryor

The Bookseller (2012)

by Mark Pryor

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2841939,700 (3.69)28



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My first by this author. I was drawn to it partly by the setting but also because I love British authors best of all. I wasn't disappointed. Interesting characters, fast pace, good balance of action and reflection. Held my attention well. Nice descriptions of Paris streets and cafes. The main character is an American in Paris attached to the US Embassy. As it is a British writer, however, you can see that the protagonist has some British characteristics (reserve, politeness) mixed in with some American. The author is from the UK but lives in Texas, hence the mix. The plot had some nice twists and turns with a good few dangerous confrontations, quite a good effort overall for a first novel. Nothing I didn't like about it so I will definitely read more in this series. ( )
  MitchMcCrimmon | Apr 27, 2018 |
Fictional sleuths, whether amateur or professional, are rarely witnesses to the crimes they investigate, but such is the case in “The Bookseller,” the first novel (published in 2012) in the Hugo Marston mystery series written by Mark Pryor.

Marston is actually a professional sleuth operating as an amateur. A former FBI agent from Texas, he now works in Paris as head of security at the U.S. Embassy. Investigating French crimes is hardly in his job description, but one day at the start of his vacation he buys some books from an old bookseller who operates his small business from a stall on the street. Before he leaves he witnesses the bookseller being taken away against his will. But what to Marston's eye seems like an obvious kidnapping, the French police write off as just a man leaving with friends, never mind that someone who clearly knows nothing about books is running the bookstall the next day.

Marston had thought he might use his vacation to return to Texas to try to rekindle his relationship with his ex-wife, but she lets him know it would be a wasted trip. Besides he now has a disappearance to investigate, and he soon meets a woman who may help him forget his wife. But Claudia turns out to be the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Paris, a man who doesn't want his daughter getting serious with a middle-class American. Then the father turns out to be both a collector of rare books and a man with secrets, raising the possibility that he could somehow be involved in the bookseller's disappearance. Was his meeting Claudia more than just a happy accident?

Helping in the unofficial probe of this unofficial crime is Tom, Marston's old friend and a former CIA agent. Together they make progress, but not before bodies start piling up, each that of a Paris street vendor. Finally the police get involved.

“The Bookseller” proves to be an exciting, fast-paced mystery with intriguing characters. It does, however, lose much of its credibility when a French police captain allows Marston and his friend to take the lead in his investigation. This didn't seem very likely in the days of Hercule Poirot, and it's even less so now. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Feb 23, 2018 |
Great mystery, whether you're a bibliophile or not. ( )
  SESchend | Sep 6, 2017 |
I’m usually not a fan of foreign settings in mystery novels. I think it’s because so often the author spends much of the narrative in descriptions of the countryside, the customs, the food, etc. and both the plot and characters suffer as a result. I’m happy that this book, set in Paris, was one of the exceptions for me. It does include those same type of descriptions but not so as to overwhelm the plot or characters. Hugo is certainly a likeable and intelligent protagonist, and I hope Tom appears in future stories as well, if only to find out more about his backstory. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series. 3.5 stars ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
Nice easy flowing crime story. Author managed to include significant amounts of color via Paris scenery, history, illegal drugs. Interesting to read an expat Englishman portray American government employees. ( )
  MM_Jones | Apr 18, 2017 |
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When his bookseller friend, a former Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter, is kidnapped and other booksellers are murdered, Hugo Marston, head of security for the U.S. embassy in Paris, discovers a shocking conspiracy.

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