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Posts Tagged ‘mysteries’

I am not sure how else to describe it.

The structure reminds me a bit of Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Morena-Garcia in that an ordinary person — not a detective or private investigator or some private citizen with a penchant for sleuthing — finds herself looking into a disappearance. The atmosphere of The Paris Apartment is darker, but Velvet Was the Night is grittier (70s era Mexico).

Picking up from my previous post, Jess is on edge because she is trying to escape one life and start over with another. She doesn’t really think anyone is after her, but she’s not sure, and she has had enough hard knocks to make her a combination of reckless and cautious. She takes chances because she doesn’t really have anything to lose.

As the story progresses, and the characters and relationships get more complicated, or at least raised more questions — it is definitely a character-driven story — I wondered if it was going to be one of those mysteries which builds up a lot of suspense and secrets that eventually get revealed, but the actual motive and culprit are something else entirely, almost unrelated and conveniently veiled by other more tantalizing options. Or would there be a plot twist thrown in at the end to tie all of the threads together?

As the story progressed further, I became more interested in how things would turn out and less concerned that the rug would be pulled out from under me. There is this interesting juxtaposition of people who are, should be, or even want to be intimately connected but don’t quite manage it for a number of reasons. Siblings, for example. Well, half-siblings. Jess and Ben have always been there for each other. Sort of. They have shared trauma and grief which binds them, and yet they end up on different paths.

The lives of the apartment building residents are intertwined and yet divergent. I don’t know how to say more without giving too much away. There are some twists, but nothing too shocking if you are paying attention. There is a deft sleight of hand by the author as to what the most serious crime is.

One of the complimentary review blurbs is “Exceedingly clever.” I am not sure I would go as far as exceedingly, but clever is a fitting description.

I am not sure that justice is quite served, but all of the pieces do fit together, and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It works.

If you want complete edge-of-your-seat suspense and grand, shocking reveals, this is not your book, but if you want a clever, well-crafted plot driven by varied and interesting characters, each with their own flaws and secrets, then add this book to your reading list.

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The news and headlines are just too much again today — and I don’t think that I even read anything about COVID or the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It was all domestic nonsense. Well, not nonsense because all of it was quite serious, but it might be a little easier to absorb if it were nonsense, if there weren’t real consequences for a lot of real people.

Anyway, on this chilly, rainy, spring evening, I am disappearing into The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley. I am about fifty pages into it and trying to decide if it is a taughtly-written mystery or if it is going to take some horrific turn that gives me nightmares.

Jess is running away from her past and her present, and she runs to her half brother Ben in Paris. Even though he knows that she is coming, he is not waiting for her when she arrives late at night. She finds her way into his apartment and is observed by several other residents and the concierge of the building in the process.

The next day he still has not returned, and she notices things which indicate more than a casual absence. Jess doesn’t want to involve the police for her own reasons, but she starts to worry all the same.

The story is told from multiple points of view — I am up to five so far, including Jess — and I can’t decide whether any of the narrators are reliable. From the dust jacket: “Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.”

I am both nervous and curious. So far curiosity is winning. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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