I’m pleased to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for Death in Avignon by Serena Kent. Thank you to Tracy Fenton for the invitation and to Orion Books for allowing me to share this extract with you today. I hope you enjoy.
About the book:
Glamour, intrigue, and a mystery to die for…
After a tumultuous summer, Penelope Kite has settled into the rhythm of her new life in Provence. Lavender-scented evenings, long lunches with new friends – and an exclusive gallery opening to attend, on the arm of the gorgeous mayor of St Merlot…
But beneath the veneer of glamour, scandal is brewing. Shockwaves ripple through the Avignon art world when a controversial painter, Roland Doncaster, chokes on an almond-stuffed olive.
A tragic accident? Or a ruthless poisoning? Embroiled once more in a murder investigation, Penelope discovers that any number of jealous lovers and scheming rivals could be in the frame. And with dashing art dealers to charm, patisseries to resist, and her own friends under suspicion, Penelope will need all her sleuthing talents to unveil the truth…
Return to the charm of Provence for another delightful Penelope Kite mystery! The perfect holiday read for fans of MC Beaton, Peter Mayle and Betty Rowlands
About the author:
Serena Kent has been a journalist, a banker, a music composer and a sheep-shearer – and is also the nom de plume of Deborah Lawrenson and her husband Robert Rees. They live in Kent in a house full of books, and own a ramshackle old farmhouse on the slopes of the Luberon hills in Provence which is also in desperate need of some more bookshelves.
Deborah has previously published eight novels including The Art of Falling, The Lantern, The Sea Garden and 300 Days of Sun. Robert has previously published one novel, A Season in the Sun.
Death in Avignon
by Serena Kent
The bakery in the square at St Merlot was superlative. Which was a mixed blessing for a woman who found it hard to resist the lure of a traditional continental breakfast. The local master baker Jacques Correa produced the finest croissants Penelope had ever tasted: crispy, flaky, buttery delights with just the right amount of chewiness in the centre. She had made a deal with herself several weeks ago. If she wanted one – and one only, mind – she had to walk up and down the hill for it. Calories out before calories in.
The boulangerie occupied a narrow yellow building with a few chairs and tables outside under a vine canopy. During the summer, it was a popular morning spot for the villagers, with good coffee and a superlative view of the Luberon valley. Now, though the outside tables remained, they were empty in the bright, chilly air left in the mistral’s wake.
Penelope opened the door and entered a warm, steamy world of fragrance and temptation. A queue had formed and doubled back on itself. A hubbub of chat and laughter between the customers rose and fell, and was ably parried by Madame Correa behind the counter. Several people smiled at Penelope, and she nodded back. It was nice to feel that some of them knew who she was and were making her feel welcome. Jacques brought through a tray of croissants, newly baked, to a collective sigh of contentment from the clientele.
Penelope emerged with a bag containing her breakfast and, because she was a slave to her baser instincts where French pâtisserie was concerned, one individual hazelnut and praline tart for later.
‘Caught you,’ said Clémence.
Penelope jumped. Laurent appeared too, grinning over the Parisienne’s narrow shoulder as she pulled an expression of amused disapproval.
‘Just one croissant,’ admitted Penelope feebly.
‘We thought we might find you here,’ said Laurent.
‘Bit unfair,’ said Penelope, not knowing quite how to take that. ‘I’ve managed to resist for ages.’
They already knew her far too well. More to the point, she felt, was that the bakery in St Merlot was surely not on Clémence’s daily round. Had she and Laurent arrived together, and if so, what did that imply this early in the morning?
‘Were you looking for me, then?’ she asked.
Laurent gave her an ambiguous smile. ‘I have worked up quite an appetite this morning and am about to have a splendid breakfast at the Mairie. Would you like to join us?’
Did he exchange a meaningful look with Clémence, or was Penelope imagining that? She reached into her basket and held up the paper containing the offending croissant. ‘I’ll bring my own.’
End of extract
Death in Avignon by Serena Kent is out to buy now: Amazon UK
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