Title: Death in Paris (Màiri Maguire Cozy Mystery #1)
Author: Kate Darroch
Published on: 30 March 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Màiri Maguire teaches in a top school at Glasgow. Her boyfriend of twelve years decides to marry a Singaporean bar girl. After all, Màiri is not the adventurous type and Brian wants someone who can travel the world with him. On a whim, she decides to take up on the job offer at a school in Istanbul. Her friend Lianna is caught up in tax mess. Her husband of many years left her, emptied their bank account and blamed her for spending all the money. A tax inspector named Charlie Stout gets flirty with Lianna and she does not like it one bit.
Màiri suggests Lianna should come with her to Istanbul as a teacher’s assistant. This can also relieve Lianna from the stress of paying taxes – in the hope that staying away from Glasgow might make the tax officials think Lianna is on the run.
They have a ten-day gap before moving to Istanbul and the travel agent suggests they spend it in France. The women reach Paris and hope to have a wonderful time but… Charlie Stout is also in their tour group and the day after they arrive in Paris, he’s found dead. Lianna was heard (in public) threatening to kill him and she has no alibi at Charlie’s time of death. The gendarmes arrest her for Stout’s murder.
Death in Paris is the first book in Kate Darroch’s Màiri Maguire series. I saw a lot of high ratings for this book on Goodreads. I had seen the book on NetGalley and when I found it in the KU catalog, I decided to give it a read. Unfortunately, this book was not for me.
First, the story starts with events leading up to Lianna’s arrest – Lianna and Màiri leave their hotel room for breakfast and find gendarmes in the lobby. Inspector Clermont arrives and has a pointer in his hand. (Don’t ask me what kind of pointer because I do not know!) He uses it to point at people and Lianna turns out to be the ‘killer.’ When asked for her passport, she says it is in her room but when searched, her passport is not found. So, she’s arrested.
Then comes the ‘flashback.’ The present and the flashback were written in present continuous tense and honestly, I had a difficult time following the story. The flashback is about Màiri and her teaching experience, Lianna and Donal’s breakup (I thought they were dating but turns out, he was her husband – this wasn’t made clear at the beginning.) Then we have Morag, Brenda and Katriona and how close they are with Màiri… If you are wondering who these three women are, you are not alone. It is not until later in the chapter (the one in which these three women make an appearance) that we are told they are Màiri’s sisters.
Finally, the side characters – no proper introduction. It felt like they are just thrown into the story, wherever they seemed fit. I had a hard time remembering who’s who. There’s one person though, who plays a major role in the story – Major Ellis Peverel. Màiri befriends him soon after Lianna’s arrest and together, they would find Charlie’s killer and prove Lianna’s innocence. The Major does plays a minor role until latter half of the story.
Also, the Scottish lilt appears out of nowhere. Once moment, Màiri is conversing normally and the next sentence has a lilt. And the next one, normal!
I was 30% through the book when I thought of DNFing it. But I carried on reading as I felt I might get used to the writing style. But I did not. I really had a tough time following the story (mainly because of the writing) and I do not think I would follow this series. The ending was not all that great, either!