Folly du Jour

The streets of 1920s Paris are teeming with tourists and tramps, fine artists and con artists. Also killers. Knife fights at cafés and corpses floating along the Seine are all part of the daily parade. But now something newly wicked is in the air—murder with style. A day at the Louvre might reveal a fresh body among the dusty corpses of Egyptian nobles. Josephine Baker’s dazzling performance at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées could be the scene of an unexpectedly dramatic tragedy. Passionate Paris is indeed a perilous place in Barbara Cleverly’s recent mystery, Folly du Jour.

Such a remarkable setting demands a detective who is a cut above the ordinary gumshoe. Before James Bond careened through Europe in splendid sports cars, there was Joe Sandilands—handsome, well-educated, toughened through years of military service, trained by Scotland Yard, and just the man to call when the British Crown needs a worldly, clever, brave and decent fellow. Old friends and old loves from previous adventures abound, but award-winning Cleverly writes so cleverly that it is not necessary to have read the preceding volumes to follow the current story. However, having once made Detective Sandilands’ acquaintance, readers may care to discover his previous escapades: The Last Kashmiri Rose, Ragtime in Simla, The Damascened Blade, The Palace Tiger, The Bee’s Kiss, and Tug of War.
 
This author weaves a good mystery, and she does it with grand style, using silken threads of deceit and danger. Whether the setting is India, London, or France, the surroundings are richly portrayed and the characters are thoroughly, dramatically enjoyable. If you are on the hunt for a historical mystery with sparkling dialogue, fascinating locales, and a lead detective who is neither dull nor dim-witted, seek no further than Folly du Jour.
 
Cleverly’s latest Sandilands’ mystery, Strange Images of Death, follows on the heels of Folly du Jour and is set in lovely, lethal Provence.