Thursday, May 25, 2017

Love and Death in Burgundy - A Cozy Mystery Review

Love and Death in Burgundy by Susan C. Shea
Rating: Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  After three years of living in the small town of Reigny-sur-Canne, all Katherine Goff really wants is to be accepted by her neighbors into their little community. But as an American expat living in the proud region of Burgundy, that's no easy task.
When the elderly Frenchman who lives in the village chateau is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, the town is turned into a hot bed of gossip and suspicion, and Katherine suddenly finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into the small town's secrets. A motherless teenager, a malicious French widow, a brash music producer, and a would-be Agatha Christie are among those caught up in a storm that threatens to turn Katherine's quiet life upside down. As more and more of the villagers' secrets are brought to light, Katherine must try to figure out who, if anyone, in the town she can trust, and which one of her neighbors just might be a killer.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I love the idea of the American and France and getting a look at what life is really like as an expat.

My Impression:  It's always starting a new series because you're entering a new world for the first time.  There's a new place, new characters, and in mysteries a shockingly high death rate.  This book starts in the garden of Katherine Goff's home in the Burgundy countryside.  Katherine is an American artist who is trying desperately to fit into her new home.  While she is fluent in French it hasn't been as much of a help as she expected and she is finding herself much more of an outsider than she wants to be.  I really liked that this was not a happy little welcoming small town full on unicorns and rainbows.  There's a distinct social order that isn't easily broken through.  There are lots of politics and outsiders aren't particularly welcomed with opened arms.  I thought it was very realistic that Katherine isn't just okay with the rejection.  She really wants to fix it and tries to become more involved in village life in ways that made sense.

The mystery is one of too many suspects but no real motives and I enjoyed watching everything unravel.  While this is a mystery but the book focuses equally on village life so while Katherine is looking for the killer the reader is also seeing the repercussions of the murder resonate with the other characters.

I had a few issues with the book.  This was the first book in the series so it did feel like it got a little slow at time as everything was being setup.  I also didn't love the ending.  While the reveal made since I'm not sure I really felt like justice was done.  This may be a difference in the French and US laws but I did feel a little unsatisfied.

So while I didn't find the book flawless I did find it entertaining and I really enjoyed the world that Shea created.  I'm looking forward to revisiting Reigny-sur-Canne and seeing what's happening next!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: I would!  I really enjoyed the author's chatty writing style and her ability to make the world inside the book come alive.

Would I Recommend this Book?: I would!  Because of the character development I think readers who don't typically enjoy mysteries would enjoy this book.


  1. I know it's weird, but even though I don't necessarily want to visit France, I love reading stories about it, so I would definitely pick this up. Maybe all those French classes in school are messing with my mind Katherine! lol Hugs...

  2. I enjoyed hearing this author on a panel at Malice Domestic. Made me want to pick up her book and begin reading. Glad to hear your thoughts on it. For some reason, I don't often read books set in France.

  3. I love that cover. And a village in Burgundy? I like the idea of an expat trying to fit in, and I had to laugh at "shockingly high death rate"! So true...

  4. Loving that Burgundy setting and the focus on village life. Not a bad start for a first book, and hopefully the pace will pick up in the next one.

  5. A perfect title for national wine day :)

  6. I do like books with small town settings but too bad you were left unsatisfied by the ending. Sounds like a decent start to a new series.

  7. The idea of settling into a new country - France in itself would be engaging and I like the point you make about character dev.

  8. Well it sounds pretty good but darn on the unsatisfied feeling. Hopefully the next won't have that same issue.