Monday, August 28, 2017

A Perfumed Murder in Paris

Amory Ames #4
Ashley Weaver
St. Martin's Minotaur
September 5, 2017

The fourth entry in the Amory Ames mystery series begins in Lake Como where Amory and Milo Ames are on holiday. The Ames are awaiting a visit from Madame Nanette, Milo's childhood nanny. They receive a message from her, canceling the visit and asking that they see her in Paris. Milo was raised by Madam Nanette, rather than his neglectful father, and he is very fond of her. Her message indicates, at least to Milo, that the nanny is worried about something. They take advantage of an offer from a new friend, Andre Duveau, to fly with him in his plane to Paris. Upon their arrival, they find that Madame Nanette's employer, the wealthy and famous perfumer, Helios Belanger, has died after a plane crash that he was piloting.The death was declared a heart attack as Belanger walked away from the crash but died in his sleep the same night. Madame Nanette and Belanger had a romantic liaison in their youth, and she feels that his death might not have been a heart attack. The heirs of Helios Belanger have more than enough motive to go around with an unsettled line of inheritance. Milo and Amory must try to infiltrate the family to get the answers.

There are many things that I enjoy about the series. Weaver paints a vivid picture of the era and the lives of the idle rich. I have always loved the Hollywood movies of the time with their portrayal of the fashions and carefree lifestyles, at least the lifestyles of those who still had money in The Great Depression. It is interesting to read about the perfume industry and the lengths to which some might go to gain ascendancy. However, I find myself losing patience with the marital difficulties of Milo and Amory. I have never trusted Milo with his untruthfulness and cavalier attitude towards the marriage. The Essence of Malice gives more insight into his character and at least his untruthfulness this time was in the service of protecting Amory. There is just too much going on with Milo that needs to be explained. Hopefully, as the series moves into the unsettled times in Europe of the 1930's, that explanation will come.

Thanks to St. Martin's Minotaur for an advance digital copy. The opinions above are my own.

RATING- 3 Stars

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