Death in Paris by Emilia Bernhard

Death in Paris is a charming murder mystery novel set in Paris, in which two best friends turn  amateur sleuths when a former boyfriend of one of them drowns in a bowl of soup. When Rachel hears that Edgar Bowen is dead, she is reminded of their time together many years ago and how he helped her grow as a person. The details she hears about his death don’t add up: surely Edgar, who previously hated rosé, wasn’t drinking it with his soup? With her best friend Magda, Rachel starts to delve into the case, as the police won’t listen to her suspicions, but amateur sleuthing isn’t as easy as TV makes it appear.

This is a classic kind of mystery novel that is suffused with references to fictional detectives and literature. Rachel and Magda are trying to think like the protagonists of mystery stories, but also finding out how difficult it can be to get information out of people and lie where necessary to get them to talk. Their friendship is a key element of the book: it is their partnership that allows them to think over the facts and fictions of Edgar’s death. They’re clearly depicted as friends who, as two Americans who’ve made their lives in Paris, have been supporting each other for a long time and are genuinely there no matter what. Another major part of the book and related to them being Americans is its depiction of Paris: this is a novel that invites you to take a trip down the streets of Paris, trying to give the reader a sense of living there too.

Ideal for murder mystery fans and especially anyone looking for female led fiction that prizes friendship highly, Death in Paris is a fun read that would go well with a glass of red wine (or, in my case, homemade French onion soup).