Magic Mirror

| January 7, 2014

cover

“Georgia Lee Maxwell … is a delight, a bright and funny lady with a breezy narrative voice.” –Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

” … a brisk and witty book full of sharply unexpected events and packed with wonderfully robust characters.” –Publisher’s Weekly
SACRE BLEU! THEY KILLED A MAN FOR A MIRROR!

Florida transplant Georgia Lee Maxwell doesn’t take to Paris at first, despite the fact that she’s at least leaving a no-good man and a hated job as a society editor. Now she’s a Paris correspondent, thank you very much—a dream come true for any journalist.

There’s just a slight down side—she arrives in freezing rain, gets caught in a traffic jam caused by a bomb scare, and hates her apartment; but the real Bonjour is finding herself face down on a museum floor during a robbery. “Killed for a boring story!” she thinks. But as it happens, she isn’t the one who dies. Three terrifying masked gunmen shoot the unfortunate security guard.

They could have stolen all the treasures of Monte Cristo’s cave, so to speak, but it turns out they’ve made off with only a mirror. True, it once belonged to the French seer Nostradamus, but it may be the museum’s least valuable item.

Does it have some prophetic ability? Does someone know something the gendarmes don’t? Here’s what Georgia Lee knows: If she finds out first, she’s a journalistic hero. If she doesn’t, she’s dead.

Michaela Thompson’s ability to bring alive a locale shines here, and when the locale is Paris, what’s not to like? The writing is crisp, the protagonist witty, and the mystery is twisty. A great choice for armchair travelers! Also for fans of Cara Black, Michael Bond, and of course, the great Georges Simenon. Admirers of Hank Phillippi Ryan and the HBO show, THE NEWSROOM, will love the journalistic background.

Excerpt:
The first hint of anything extraordinary was a loud clattering on the staircase we had just descended. A moment later, three people burst violently into the room.

One of them, stumbling as if he’d been pushed, was the blue-uniformed guard I’d seen upstairs. The other two wore jeans, burgundy-colored ski masks, brown leather bomber jackets, and gloves. Both of them held stubby black guns. They looked around at us. One of them spat out some sort of order in French.

It was the most ungodly nightmare. Here were these killers, or terrorists, or who knew what, telling us to do something, and they were telling us in French. At that moment, I couldn’t have understood Bonjour. But the others— the guard, Mallet, Overton— were getting on the floor and lying face down, so I did the same. In a second, one of the intruders grabbed my wrists and taped them together, tight. I heard them shuffling around taping the others.

I lay with my nose pressed against the cold linoleum, wishing to God I’d never left Florida. Any indignity I’d had to put up with at the Sun was nothing compared to this. I was going to be killed, and all because of a story about art conservation that probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway. I thought about Mama and Daddy, and about Twinkie, who was just getting adjusted to Paris. I’m happy to say I didn’t give more than a passing thought to Ray Brown, the man I’d left in Bay City who wasn’t worth a damn.

All of this took just seconds. I heard a drawer opening and closing. The back of my head prickled. In everything I’d read about these situations, people got shot in the back of the head. The prickling became a numbness that crawled down my neck and along my spine.

Only a moment later, the shot came.

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