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Friday, June 20, 2014

Fleur de Lies: A Passport to Murder Mystery By Maddy Hunter

by Cynthia Chow

As owner of Destinations Travel Company with her new husband Etienne, Emily Miceli is charged with herding her geriatric tourists through various locations with a minimal loss of life or sanity. Her track record's been pretty abysmal on this though, as death seems to always follow. Accompanying a tour group of funeral planners does seem to tempt fate.

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With Etienne at home in Windsor City, Iowa, Emily is on her own with her troupe of septuagenarian, octogenarians, and nonagenarians. At least her Nana is along as they traverse through the World War II sites vital to both France's and America's history. Less helpful is the presence of Emily's ex-husband Jack Potter, now Jackie Thum, fully a lady and a representative of Mona Michelle, the cosmetics company whose sellers are as cutthroat as they are beautiful. Jackie may be experienced in cosmetics and fashion but she is an infant in the art of warfare of Mean Girls cliques.

When a death occurs and Jackie assumes that she was the target, Emily and her phone-addicted twittering herd of seniors are on the case as they visit historically sites between rushed runs on the buffet. Emily’s patience may be tested by her senior sleuths, but they always have her back and prove to be resourceful social media fiends.

Image source: Midnight Ink

The fun of this mystery comes in the twists and turns crafted by a talented author. Just when I thought I identified both murderer and motive, the rug was pulled out from under me with a surprising ending. The author a plays fair though in this humorous mystery filled with eccentric characters. The mystery remains logical as the beauty and history of France shines through. The strong writing and hilarity never overshadow the sentiment or realism of a powerful mystery. Fun and entertaining, Hunter fills this series with characters who may try Emily's patience and test her sanity but whose loyalty to their guide never waivers.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

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