Friday, September 21, 2018

Mark Pryor - The Paris Librarian

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.

Comment: I got this book at my local library the last time I went there. Since this is not a big book and the font wasn't too small, I figured it would be interesting enough to read for a few hours, even more so considering the theme would be about a mystery in Paris and there would be talk about books and libraries, things I find extremely appealing.

This is the 6th installment in the Hugo Marston series by author Mark Pryor.
The story begins with Hugo, the protagonist, scheduling a meeting with his librarian friend Paul Rogers regarding a book Hugo would like to acquire. However, everything changes when Paul is found dead in his closed office and all indicates natural causes.
Hugo isn't sold on it but all clues point there and he starts to accept the fact until Paul's girlfriend is also found dead and that is just too much of a coincidence, which mean Hugo investigates and puts all the pieces together to make the truth come alive again...

I had never heard of this author before seeing the book in the library and I didn't investigate before deciding to try it, so I was not aware this would be the 6th book in a series. From this POV, the book is readable as a stand alone even if there were several references to previous details which, I assume, were dealt with in the previous installments also. This was a simple story about an crime investigation so I must say I was a little disappointed with the fact not much is centered in a library or about a librarian in Paris...

It was precisely that detail that grabbed my attention when I picked the book to read he blurb. I was interested in reading about the adventures of a librarian in a city I've visited and whose setting I'd be able to more or less recognize but the protagonist is not the librarian of the title. I must wonder why this was chosen, then, since the story wouldn't be about that person's life (since he dies, of course).

There is also the promise of book talk but I felt everything was very superficially mentioned and all references to books were sporadic and regarding things that, after all, had no real importance to the plot! One element is the investigation about a set of documents about a former supposed spy who is actually an old actress and the memoirs she had on paper and donated to the library in Paris. I believed this would be directly related to the plot but let me tell you, it's all circumstantial because that barely matters. I can see it was used as a red herring of sorts but to the POV of the reader it's just so..unimportant, so why bothering to include it. I don't really think the author thought this well.

I do think the story was fluid, easy, simple...I had no trouble finding motivation to read but now that I've finished I find the plot too silly. This is definitely not the best mystery/murder investigation I've read about. I suppose the author wanted to create the atmosphere to let us imagine and be eager to know what happens next but the way the story develops and how each detail is linked to the other doesn't always make sense. I also didn't find any sense in urgency for the characters to discover the truth. When the motives of the crimes committed are revealed I was like.. really? This is it? But how is this related? What a weak, pointless explanation. The story is rather weak, in my opinion. Or, at least, it was not developed in a more strategic way to convince the reader of its importance and complexity.

I don't feel compelled to read more adventures in the life of the protagonist. I can only imagine more suppositions wouldn't be met and it's getting more and more difficult not to be annoyed at some blurbs hat are very misleading. 
I think that happened here too and although some things were interesting and the setting more or less good, the execution didn't convince me at all.
Grade: 5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment