A library in Paris – what more could a book worm like me with an unequivocal love of all things French want in a story? So when I first saw “The Paris Librarian,” I couldn’t resist the opportunity to read and review Mark Pryor’s latest novel.
“The Paris Librarian” follows Hugo Marston, a former FBI agent turned U.S. Security Ambassador living in Paris with his friend and colleague Tom Green. When Hugo’s friend and head librarian, Paul Rogers, dies of seemingly natural causes, Hugo isn’t convinced and embarks on a quest to find out what is really going on. With murders adding up at every turn and old rumors from the 1940s consistently popping up, Hugo has to discern fact from speculation before he becomes the next target.
The book was well-written and compelling, with twists at every turn to keep the reader guessing. There was a relatively small cast of characters, but I particularly liked how each one was slowly introduced into the narrative. This was actually the first time I’ve ever guessed the culprit right off the bat and been correct, but because of how the story continued to introduce and dispute theories, the entertaining plot kept me trailing Hugo and wanting him to solve the mystery rather than focusing on it myself.
Hugo’s late wife was referred to a few times throughout the book and I wish that piece of the puzzle had been fleshed out a bit more. Also, I was so excited to read “The Paris Librarian” that I didn’t realize it was the sixth novel featuring protagonist Hugo Marston. Now I have to go back to the beginning and start the series with “The Bookseller!”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MARK PRYOR
Mark Pryor is a former newspaper reporter from England, and now an assistant district attorney with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, in Austin, Texas. He is the creator of the nationally-recognized true-crime blog D.A. Confidential. He has appeared on CBS News’s 48 Hours and Discovery Channel’s Discovery ID: Cold Blood.
“The Paris Librarian” Book Description: Hugo Marston’s friend Paul Rogers dies unexpectedly in a locked room at the American Library in Paris. The police conclude that Rogers died of natural causes, but when his girlfriend is also found dead, Hugo is certain mischief is afoot.
As he pokes around the library, Hugo discovers that rumors are swirling around some recently donated letters from American actress Isabelle Severin. Some are being kept secret. The reason: they indicate that the now ninety-year-old had aided the resistance in frequent trips to France towards the end of World War II. Even more dramatic is the legend that the Severin Collection also contains a dagger, one she used to kill an SS officer in 1944.
Hugo delves deeper into the stacks at the American library and finally realizes that the history of this case isn’t what anyone suspected. But to prove he’s right, Hugo must return to the scene of a decades-old crime.