Richard is a middle-aged Englishman who runs a B&B somewhere in the Loire Valley. Nothing ever happens to Richard, and really that’s the way he likes it.
One day, however, one of his older guests disappears, leaving behind a bloody handprint. Another guest, the exotic Valérie, persuades a reluctant Richard to join her in investigating the disappearance.
Richard remains a dazed passenger in the case alongside Valerie until someone also murders Ava Gardner, one of his beloved hens.
This is an enjoyable cosy mystery set in France. There’s plenty of humour, a whole host of quirky characters (human and feathered), a delightfully rural setting and an imaginative plot that keeps you hooked.
What works best for me in the book is the atmosphere. Mr Moore lives in France and that’s obvious from his writing with all many little details that reflect all things French, and in particular the expat life in this lovely country.
The main character of Richard, who is slightly past his prime, makes a nice change in a genre that is awash with female sleuths, many of them young and glamorous. Also feisty, and that’s nothing something you could describe Richard as either. He’s likeable, steady, a trifle staid but chickens and glamorous French women bring out the slightly more daring and livelier side of him.
Plenty to enjoy, and since this is the first book in a series we’ll be meeting Richard in France again.
Ian Moore is a stand-up comedian, known for his sharp, entertaining punditry. A TV/radio regular, he stars in Dave’s satirical TV show Unspun and Channel 5’s topical comedy Big Mouths. He is also the author of two memoirs on life in France. À la Mod and C’est Modnifique. Ian lives in the Loire and commutes back to the UK every week. In his spare time, he makes mean chutneys and jams.
Published by Farrago in hardback at £14.99