Belle Provence Travels

A South of France Blog

Death in ProvenceGreetings dear readers and friends. Well, if you ever wanted a great summer read to get “lost in Provence” this is it. I’ve been following author Deborah Lawrenson’s blog and novels over the years and was delighted to learn that she’d written – in collaboration with her husband – a murder mystery under the nom de plume, Serena Kent. Death in Provence, the first novel by Ms. Kent, is a fast-paced, thrilling mystery that’s hard to put down.

I made my way through the book over a long weekend, punctuated by a few glasses of rosé, which just happens to be the favorite drink of central character / crime sleuth / heroine Penelope Kite. Madame Kite sets off for the Luberon region of Provence with all of the dreamy expat fantasies that a fortuitous early-retirement can bring. Against the wishes of her skeptical children, she decides to leave her home in England to restore a large, hilltop property with sweeping views of the Luberon valley. Lured by more than just the promise of South-of-France sunshine, Penelope wants the opportunity to do something for herself – even if that something means little more than lounging by the pool, listening to the buzz of the summer cicadas, and waiting for aperitif hour.

Only an unfortunate incident of foul play, which occurs on Penelope’s property, launches her headfirst into the ins and outs of life in a Provençal village. And what a quirky village it is… We’re introduced to a cast of characters which breathe new life into the expression “local color”. We meet a charming, dangerously-handsome mayor whose secret meetings raise eyebrows all over town, a pristine French estate agent who totters around Penelope’s house in fabulously expensive designer shoes and seems to know her every move, and a mysterious neighbor who drinks too much plum wine and has a lingering distrust for foreigners. Penelope’s boisterous and wine-loving friend, Frankie, appears on the scene to lead crime-sleuthing activities, but gets duly sidelined by long South-of-France lunches and never-ending carafes of rosé.

Not only is Death in Provence a great mystery novel, but it’s also laugh-out-loud funny. The characters are just the sort of friends, neighbors, and shopkeepers you’d find in towns and villages around Provence. They are quirky, colorful, and full of heart.  In addition to the intrigue that is central to the novel, their witty presence and lively commentary provide a perfect window into life in the South of France.

Death in Provence is currently available as an ebook and will be published in paperback on August 23rd.

You can also follow the adventures of Serena Kent on Facebook and Twitter. I’m enjoying all the pastry shopping and croissant eating happening on Serena’s page.

Happy reading and wishing you a très bon weekend!

18 thoughts on “A Perfect Summer Read… Death in Provence

  1. Patty says:

    Thank you for the recommendation, Tuula. I can’t wait to read it – my total love of Provence and also of mysteries. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tuula says:

      Thank you Patty, it’s a really fun book, transports you right to Provence! Bon dimanche 🙂

      Like

      1. Patty says:

        Unfortunately, Death In Provence isn’t available in the US until February 2019 – I am traveling to Europe in September (unfortunately not to Provence this time) and hope to find a copy of it in English when I am there. Otherwise, I’ll have to wait until February. But, I can’t wait to read it – no matter when.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Tuula says:

        I know Patty, I just found this out! How unfortunate… perhaps an ebook? I guess it will be something to look forward to… I wish I had known sooner… my apologies.

        Like

      3. Patty says:

        No e-book until February, either. And, no reason to apologize – I’m so happy that you recommended it – I have it on my calendar for February – unless I can get it on my trip in September. Something to look forward to! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Tuula says:

        Boo for the e-book! Well, I guess something to look forward to… hope you’re having a great day and warm wishes from Provence!

        Like

  2. When you say that the characters are “full of heart,” just like the good people of Provence, I couldn’t agree more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tuula says:

      Couldn’t agree more Keith, the people here are very special… and very funny too. Hope you’re having a great summer, all the best!

      Like

  3. Krista Bjorn says:

    This sounds like such a fun, escapist book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tuula says:

      Thank you Krista! I really appreciate all of your comments & hope all is well in your corner of the world! 🙂

      Like

  4. Lee Ann says:

    Oh, wow! This looks perfect for my upcoming flight read to Portugal later in the month! So … boo hoo! Just realized we can’t buy it in the states until Feb. 2019! (insert sad face emoji). Well, it’s going on my list for next year.

    Thanks for the book review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tuula says:

      Hi Lee Ann, thank you for your comment and for the date of the book availability in the States – I wasn’t aware of that! I hope you’ll enjoy it when it comes out or maybe as an ebook. Thanks again and happy reading!

      Like

      1. Julie says:

        Hi there, love your blog. Thank you for the book recommendation, it looks right up my alley. On a lark I checked Amazon here in the states and was able to order the paperback version from a third party seller in Illinois. You can also order it from lots of UK sellers (longer shipping time though). I suggest scrolling through the new and used listings to see all of the sellers.
        I can’t wait to read it, sadly I have to be patient – not prime eligible!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Tuula says:

        Hi Julie, Yay, that’s great news! Thank you for sharing that information and it will be very helpful to other blog readers who would like to order the book as well – before the US release date! . I hope the book comes quickly and I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I did. Sending you a warm “bonjour” from Provence. Tuula

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  5. Karen says:

    I’m reading it now! You’re right, it is quirky and funny. I love it! Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tuula says:

      Hi Karen, that’s great! It was such a fun read and hope Serena Kent has more ideas for future books. Thank you for your comment and wishing you a very bonne journée from Provence. Tuula

      Like

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