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The Mystery of the Lost Cézanne (A Verlaque…

The Mystery of the Lost Cézanne (A Verlaque & Bonnet Provençal Mystery,… (edition 2015)

by M. L. Longworth (Author)

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682275,472 (3.82)5
"The fifth entry in this acclaimed series finds Verlaque and Bonnet investigating a murder and the provenance of a mysterious painting Like Donna Leon and Andrea Camilleri, M. L. Longworth's enchanting mystery series blends clever whodunits with gustatory delights and the timeless appeal of Provence. The Mystery of the Lost Cézanne adds a new twist by immersing Antoine and Marine in a clever double narrative that costars Provence's greatest artist. A friend in his cigar club asks Antoine to visit René Rouquet, a retired postal worker who has found a rolled-up canvas in his apartment. As the apartment once belonged to Cézanne, Rouquet is convinced he's discovered a treasure. But when Antoine arrives at the apartment, he finds René dead, the canvas missing, and a mysterious art history professor standing over the body. When the painting is finally recovered, the mystery only deepens. The brushwork and color all point to Cézanne. But who is the smiling woman in the painting? She is definitely not the dour Madame Cézanne. Who killed René? Who stole the painting? And what will they do to get it back? "--… (more)
Title:The Mystery of the Lost Cézanne (A Verlaque & Bonnet Provençal Mystery, No. 5)
Authors:M. L. Longworth (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (2015), Trade Paperback, 301 pages
Collections:Your library, Mysteries
Tags:Antoine Verlaque, Marine Bonnet, A Verlaque & Bonnet Provençal Mystery, M. L. Longworth, Provence (France), my scan

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The Mystery of the Lost Cezanne by M. L. Longworth



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Rene Roquet, a retired postal worker, lived in Paul Cezanne's former apartment. He was a disagreeable & miserly man with a secret. Pierre, a former neighbor of Rene & friend of le juge Antoine Verlaque, calls Verlaque when he is unable contact Rene.

Entering Rene's apartment, Verlaque finds Rene dead and a young American woman, Rebecca Schultz, (well known Yale Art Historian, who happens to specialize in the work of Cezanne) searching the apartment, which is in disarray. Rebecca claims that she did not kill Rene, that she found him dead after entering the apartment via the open door.

After questioning Rebecca, Verlaque allows her to leave, but to remain in Aix-Provence... of course Rebecca disappears. Soon thereafter Verlaque finds the missing portrait in the possession of Momo, the young street vendor & friend of Rene, whom Rene gave it to for safe keeping.

While Verlaque searches for the murderer & providence of the painting, his girlfriend, law professor marine Bonnet, her father, & her friend Sylvie research the life of Cezanne, the possibility of an affair w/ the woman in the portrait, & the history of Michaud's Bakery where Cezanne purchased his baked goods.

In alternating chapters, the story goes back in time to 1885, to tell the story of Paul Cezanne & (for the purposes of this book) the affair he had w/ Michaud's counter girl, Manon Solari, the fictional sister of Cezanne's real life friend Philippe Solari and the enigmatic portrait. [I hope that made sense]

At one point the, while Verlaque is traveling w/ the painting to have it authenticated by a well known art professional, the painting is stolen from the train by Rebecca, who later returns it...

While the story has an excellent premise and the portion about Cezanne & Manon being well written, the book held my interest; however, I found the introduction of Rebecca (whom I never did warm to) & her actions very convoluted. Therefore - 1 Star ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jun 21, 2018 |
Not really a mystery. A supposed mystery is the framework of the story, but that part of the book just chugs along with too many names to keep straight and then in the last twenty pages dumps a rather implausible solution out of a bag.
It also tried to be a gourmand's tour, and an art history story, and I would have completely forgiven the rather weak mystery dimension of the book if those two other areas have been more richly developed. I never mind when a supposed mystery novel is actually just a vehicle to introduce the reader to other interesting aspects of life. I quite enjoy such books and wished this one had been like that. More food and geography better described. ( )
  Northlaw | Mar 15, 2017 |
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