Sunday, January 10, 2021

Night Train to Paris (A Fen Churche Mystery #2)

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 Night Train to Paris is the second Fen Churche historical cozy mystery by Fliss Chester. Released 26th Nov 2020 by Bookouture, it's 282 pages and available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

This series is competently written, with comfortable and intelligent characterizations.  The descriptions, of place and historical period, are presented believably and paced well. The language is clean, as well as a (mostly) chaste romance subplot. There are depictions of real historical characters and places (Sartre, Christian Dior, Les Deux Magots, Shakespeare & Co. and other period Parisian characters and attractions) which are skillfully woven into the narrative without seeming to be overt name dropping or window dressing. 

There's a subplot through both of the books concerning cryptic crosswords. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this thread, to be honest. They do provide an integral subplot to both books, but for cryptic crossword aficionados (like me), they're much too minor a plot device and to readers disinterested, they're intrusive and (I suspect) a trifle annoying. Either way, the graphic representation in the book took me out of my suspension of disbelief every time they popped up in the story. 

The first murder was bizarre and quite outré (and speaking as a medical professional, quite doubtful). It was also heavily foreshadowed during the book, so readers who are reading in order to solve the "whodunit", it will likely not present too much of a surprise at the resolution. 

Taken overall, however, it's an engaging and appealing read in a series which shows promise. I recommend it to fans of the genre, especially readers of British/European WW2 (and later) mysteries.  Four stars. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

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