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The Sorbonne Affair: A Hugo Marston Novel by…
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The Sorbonne Affair: A Hugo Marston Novel

by Mark Pryor

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Another entertaining read in the Hugo Marston series. This novel, #7 in the series, seems less well thought out than the previous entries. The plot requires one to suspend belief at times, security at an embassy probably requires more actual work than allowed. But the characters are interesting and the scenery is wonderful. ( )
  MM_Jones | Mar 22, 2018 |
THE SORBONNE AFFAIR: A HUGO MARSTON NOVEL by Mark Pryor is #7 in this great mystery series.
“American novelist Helen Hancock is in Paris to research her work-in-progress and teach a writing class, when she discovers a spy camera in her room at the luxury Hotel Sorbonne.”
Hugo, as security at the American Embassy in Paris, is asked to look into this ‘problem’.
I like the character details in this series and also the great locale/sense of place. I am fond of Hugo, who seems a bit more ethical than other characters I’ve run into. The titles are more mystery-oriented, rather than espionage-oriented. There is much cooperation with the Paris police, and Hugo’s old buddy Tom Green usually shows up to lend a helping hand.
While the students in the writing class were a bit unbelievable to me, the story was suspenseful and had a lot of tension.
**** ( )
  diana.hauser | Feb 5, 2018 |
A popular writer, Helen Hancock, is working in Paris - writing her new novel and teaching a seminar in the craft of writing (and selling) novels. But she has some strange ideas about someone watching her so she decides to find Hugo Marston and ask him for help. And as always when Hugo is the vicinity, the first body is discovered shortly. And it won't be the last one.

The story revolves around the hotel Sorbonne (thus the name of the novel) but our heroes spend very little time there - everyone is too busy chasing their shadows around the city and trying to find out who is killing people, using literary allusions and methods.

Meanwhile Tom Green is sure that the man that causes his and Hugo's careers in FBI to finish is back to haunt them. We had seen some glimpses of that story through the series but this is where we learn what really happened. I am happy that Pryor decided to write this part the way he did - without trying to make it a prequel or lengthening it in any way. He does not tell it linearly though - he reverses it and gives us a glimpse into what is happening every 15 minutes, starting from the end. And a story that should have been almost trivial is shown in slow motions, from the end to the beginning. And when that last part of the story (the one that is chronologically first) starts getting revealed and then crashes with an awful clarity, a lot of pieces click into place. And make you like both men even more - despite what happens.

And what about the murders around Helen? If you stop to think, you may know realize what happens a lot earlier than Hugo does. But even if you do not, the novel's slow actions and progress is a nice counterbalance to the backstory. And the final revelation is worth the wait.

And just like that, this is one of my favorite books in the series - the series was bound to bounce back after the previous book. Plus the Scottish Parisian cop is back (although cops in this series don't fare very well in the long run so we will see how that one goes). The fact that it was explicitly connected to the previous book and previous events also helps - all the backstory pays off. And then there is Paris - the other main character in the series - exquisite and timeless. ( )
  AnnieMod | Jan 23, 2018 |
“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth”.
Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes

Words to live by. And they’ll occur to this book’s MC more than once as he picks away at his latest case.

This is book #7 in a popular series but the first time I’ve met Hugo Marston. After a career with the FBI, Hugo became the head of security for the American Embassy in Paris. Sweet gig.

In this outing, he has to deal with a temperamental author as he tries to help police figure out why people around her are dropping like flies. Helen Hancock is a well known writer of romance novels. She’s a woman of “a certain age” who projects a carefully crafted image to her fans. Unfortunately that image takes a hit when a sex tape of Helen & one of her students is released online. Things go from bad to worse after the student is later found dead.

This is a contemporary cozy-ish mystery set in Paris. Aside from a few f-bombs, it’s a very clean read with main characters who are reminiscent of those found in Golden Age mysteries like those by Agatha Christie. The perp behind it all is not really up for debate but there are several nice twists as to motive & method. It’s very character driven with more dialogue than action & I suspect it’s one of those series where if you enjoy one, you’ll like them all as the author has a very distinctive style.

It’s interesting to note he has 2 series that seem to cater to different readers, if reviews are anything to go by. Those who enjoy books in the cozy vein are Hugo fans while those with a taste for something grittier go for the Hollow Man series. I confess I found this a bit tame & think I might feel more at home in the second camp so I’ll be picking up “Hollow Man” to see how Dominic & I get along. ( )
  RowingRabbit | Jul 9, 2017 |
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"American novelist Helen Hancock is in Paris to research her work-in-progress and teach a writing class when she discovers a spy camera hidden in her room at the luxury Hotel Sorbonne. Hancock notifies the US embassy, which dispatches former FBI profiler Hugo Marston to investigate. Almost immediately the stakes are raised when a bell-hop is found dead in the hotel's stairwell. Police tell Hugo they have discovered evidence on the dead man's computer suggesting that he was the one who bugged Hancock's room. The next day things become even more complicated when a salacious video clip explodes across the Internet showing Hancock in the embrace of Ambrosio Silva, one of her writing students--both are naked and nothing is left to the imagination. But when Hugo tries to find him, his investigation leads only to Silva's dead body. He too has been murdered. Through a series of sharp deductions, Hugo uncovers new evidence pointing to the most surprising suspect of all. A close call with a dark figure on the steps of his own apartment building proves that he's on the right track and leaves no doubt that he is next on the hit list"--"U.S. Embassy investigator Hugo Marston puts his life in danger when he tries to find out who put a spy camera in the Paris hotel room of an American novelist and why two young men connected with her have been murdered"--… (more)

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