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by Mark Pryor
Seventh Street Books, August 2017
270 pages
ISBN: 1633882616

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Helen Hancock, an American romance novelist in Paris, is being spied upon and reaches out to Hugo Marston to quietly investigate. Marston, the head of security for the US Embassy in Paris, is uncomfortable keeping secrets from the Paris police, so he in turn reaches out to his friend, the transgender police lieutenant, Camille Lerens, to help find the spy. Hancock, in spite of being the victim, is surprisingly unwilling to help as Marston and Lerens continue to find aspects of Helen's life that she has neglected to share. Secrets, including a sex tape, emerge as first one murder and then another occur within Helen's hotel and the investigation can no longer be kept under wraps.

At the same time, Hugo's friend and fellow ex-FBI agent, Tom Green, gets word that the killer whose capture ended both Hugo's and Tom's FBI careers is about to be released from prison. Through this plot thread, the reader is informed about the duo's history as Pryor alternates chapters from the past with those dealing with the Paris murders in the Sorbonne Hotel in the present. Tom is highly anxious that the released murderer will be coming to Europe on a mission of revenge, while Hugo hardly seems concerned. As this plot thread plays out in the background, the extent of Tom's and Hugo's friendship becomes clear.

In this seventh book of the series, as always, Pryor does an outstanding job of bringing the Paris setting to life. Discussions and meetings often occur over drinks and meals in the cafes, allowing the author to share the ambience of the city. Hugo is a great lover of books, and while he usually focuses on the classics, I walked away from THE SORBONNE AFFAIR with a recommendation for a new (to me) contemporary mystery author. Each of the characters is well-developed, and the lightness of the interplay between Hugo and Camille is refreshing.

In spite of several murders, this is not a dark book. It can be read and enjoyed as the next installment of the ongoing Hugo Marston series, but it could just as easily be read as a stand-alone novel. If it is your first, however, you may find yourself heading back to the beginning with THE BOOKSELLER. Hugo Marston and Paris are both very compelling in Pryor's series.

Sharon Mensing, retired educational leader, lives, reads, and enjoys the outdoors in rural Wyoming.

Reviewed by Sharon Mensing, July 2017

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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