Book #62

Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner

The brand-new Eiffel Tower is the glory of the 1889 Universal Exposition. But one sunny afternoon, a woman collapses and dies on this great Paris landmark. Can a bee-sting really be the cause of death? Or is there a more sinister explanation?

Nineteenth century crime set in Paris is something completely up my street. Couple that with the murder taking place at France’s most infamous landmark, and I was living for this concept. I am sorry to say this whole novel was très atroce.

My first disappointment was the sheer subtly of the murders themselves. People stung in the neck, presumably by an insect, and expiring instantly, doesn’t have the same sort of brutal drama I cling to in a crime novel. For the Parisians to be bumbling around terrified of a swarm of ‘foreign killing bees’, was laughable, and a little bit pathetic.

Secondly, Izner did nothing to create tension, nor to evoke in the reader an appetite to discover who the killer really was. After pages of Legris either coming to ridiculous conclusions and making an arse of himself, alternating his shagging of two women, or having eureka moments and bursting out of the door of his bookshop like a total madman, it got old really really quickly.

So many red herrings and clues were introduced that it was impossible to keep hold of them all together. Whenever Legris came upon another conclusion, I had no idea how he had ended up there. 

And wow, what a number of characters were introduced in a less than three hundred page novel. I could barely keep track of them, had no idea who Legris was speaking to, or pointing the finger at next; the whole thing was a confusion of dapper and sophisticated Frenchmen, any of whom could have been THE BEE. Mon Dieu!

With that being said, the ending was wound up nicely, with everything explained well and contained; it was just a shame the rest of the novel didn’t give me anything so solid and suspenseful to keep me going.