● Murder on the Eiffel Tower. St. Martin’s Press, hardcover, September 2008; trade paperback, September 2009.
    ● The Marais Assassin. Gallic Books, UK, 2009. No current US edition.

   I’d earlier read The Pere Lachaise Mystery, the second in the series, and The Montmartre Investigation, the third. Murder on the Eiffel Tower is in fact the first, while The Marais Assassin is the fourth.

   The amateur sleuth in the series is Victor Legris, a Parisian bookseller, who operates a shop with a partner, Kenji Mori, and a young shop assistant, Joseph Pignot (“Jojo”), a bright and ambitious lad who’s also a budding serial novelist and a fan of detective fiction.

   The first novel is set in May 1889, at the time of the Paris Exposition, whose centerpiece attraction is the recently constructed Eiffel Tower, while the fourth takes place in 1892.


   The series was an automatic choice for me since its setting in Belle Epoque Paris presents the French capital at its most captivating, a bustling international center of the arts, and, in Izner’s fervid imagination, the setting for a series of ingenious, bizarre murders.

   In Eiffel, a series of apparently random deaths apparently caused by bee stings is seen by Victor as something more insidious, and in Marais the killing field stretches from rural England to Paris, with the spree occasioned by the theft of a goblet of apparently little value.

   Victor is a relentless pursuer of the cunning murderers, but his heart often overrules his head, and his romantic entanglements are fortified by a strong vein of jealousy that any reader of Proust will appreciate.

   Still, the virtues outweigh Victor’s weaknesses, which haven’t significantly reduced my enjoyment of the novels.


    * Mystere rue des Saints-Pères, 2003. (Murder on the Eiffel Tower)
    * La disparue du Père-Lachaise, 2003. (The Pere-Lachaise Mystery)


    * Le carrefour des Écrases, 2003. (The Montmartre Investigation)


    * Le secret des Enfants-Rouges, 2004. (The Marais Assassin)
    * Le léopard des Batignolles, 2005.
    * Le talisman de la Villette, 2006.
    * Rendez-vous passage d’Enfer, 2008.

From the Gallic Books website:   “Claude Izner is the pen-name of two sisters, Liliane Korb and Laurence Lefèvre. Both booksellers on the banks of the Seine, they are experts on nineteenth-century Paris.”