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A French Country Murder (Louis Morgon #1)

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  268 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
When political intrigue drove Louis Morgon from a successful career at the State Department, he moved to a cottage in France, far from Washington and what he called “the sordid world.” He took up painting. He grew vegetables and flowers. He ate long, lovely meals on the terrace overlooking fields of sunflowers. He thought that he had found happiness.

Then one day Louis’s pa
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 12th 2003 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 21, 2011 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was ok
This is a book in search of an identity.

The cover art would indicate this is a cosy Peter Mayle type book. The reviews on the back of the book indicate that it is a political thriller. Further research reveals that in later printings they change the title from A French Country Murder to Le Crime. Ahhh well I would much rather read a book called Le Crime. The lurid blue cover gives the book more of a feel of a political noir book. The reason for the confusion by the publishers is frankly the boo
Dona Matthews
Feb 08, 2012 Dona Matthews rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Peter Steiner's first novel, but I'm really hoping it is the first of many. His main character in this one --Louis Morgon, who I hope to see a lot more of in future--is a retired CIA man, now artist, living a happy peaceful life in a small village in rural France, when a case from the past arrives on his front door. Combining political intrigue, philosophical musings, and psychological insights, I found this book one of the most compelling and fascinating I've read for a long time. Cover ...more
Robert Miller
Mar 05, 2014 Robert Miller rated it liked it
This book reminds me of a "Made for Television" movie which could air (without the commercials) for 60 minutes or so. Quickly, the main character, Louis Morgon loses his job in the CIA over trumped up smear tactics, leaves his wife and two children in the U.S., and moves to a small town in France. There he becomes enamored with a married neighbor (who is afflicted with a noticeable spinal condition-which the author describes on multiple occasions)and starts to enjoy the distinct French life. His ...more
I read this book AFTER i read it's sequel, which might or might not have been a good idea. This is a first novel by a painter/New Yorker cartoonist and it's not as good as its follow-up, L'Assassin. But it has some very good moments, and the characters are all interesting. Best of all is the descriptions, some of which catch your ear like a good painting catches your eye. Steiner writes like a painter, and that's a compliment.
Brenda Hawley
Dec 06, 2012 Brenda Hawley rated it really liked it
Also called "The Crime" this is the first novel about Louis Morgan and his self-imposed exile in a small French village after a career in the CIA. Someone is trying to implicate Louis in a political murder and the crime involves Louis' past as well as his future. A great series guaranteed to make you want to keep reading.
Jan 06, 2011 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! So well written it is a work of literature as well as a darn good yarn. Beautifully draw descriptions of character and countryside.
Jan 31, 2016 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steiner inhabits the same general territory as Eric Ambler and Graham Greene, emphasis on the latter.

Louis Morgon is an expat American holed up in a little village in France. He's almost gone completely native — but one morning somebody's dumped a corpse on his doorstep, and his former life as a diplomat and CIA employee comes back with a vengeance.

Except it doesn't, really. The premise is the "spy novel" part. The rest of the story unfolds in a leisurely manner.

A little too relaxed, in fact. Th
Inken Purvis
Mar 21, 2014 Inken Purvis rated it liked it
"If we were all without our unforgivable parts then love would mean nothing at all. Love happens despite the unforgivable."

Definitely different. It's hard to review without giving away the plot but this isn't your regular murder mystery; it's more a tale of character, loyalty, vengeance and love and what people are willing to do to protect their pride and power. It’s also about the mistakes people make in their lives, how they impact others, how the mistakes resonate sometimes for decades and ho
Jul 22, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it
This work did not come off to me as a murder mystery at all, or a novel of any great political intrigue, but as a story of personal growth and redemption (or at least resolution). Two men, each in their own way, commit unforgivable acts and deal with them, again, each in their own way.

As to our hero, the protagonist Louis Morgon, hiding away in the French countryside from his various failures in the sordid world "He had become a stranger in his own life, unconnected to anyone or anything except
Dec 17, 2015 Rune rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
My first meeting with Louis Morgon, a story that shows great promise - but lacks a bit in the depth of the characters to really engage.
The story is good, but not excellent. The writing is top notch, but this would have benifited from a bit of editorial work, as there are long passages bringing nothing to neither story nor character development.

BUT do not let that stop you from reading this, as it is the gateway to more (and better) books about Mr. Morgon.
Jan 14, 2014 Alej rated it really liked it
Less a mystery or crime novel but a study in character. Steiner has introduced an intriguing, complicated man who spends the first part of his life doing all that is expected and the second half what truly makes him happy. Unfortunately events form the first haunt and discolor the second. Skillfully Steiner weaves the past and the present in and beautifully describes the memories so that each is easy to understand why they continue to exist in Morgon's mind. The crime that opens the novel is rea ...more
Seizure Romero
A happy accident: I was at the library looking for Olen Steinhauer's The Tourist. They didn't have it at my branch, but I found this and pretty much loved it. It is a melancholy tale, but always with a ray of hope.
Aug 14, 2015 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a fun quick read. I literally read it in about a day. It is modern pulp crime wrapped up in a slick cover. It probably isn't worth buying new, but it is a page-turner all the same. Peter Steiner clearly loves French food and the French countryside, and i will admit that that was part of the appeal for me and the reason i picked this book up. His/Louis Morgon's obsession with baguettes and butter is a theme through out the book, which i definitely appreciated.

This book was written to be
Mary Pat
Jul 03, 2009 Mary Pat rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne M. Brunn
Who cares.

I thought the writing was good. I wanted to like it. But the plot stunk and didn't really make sense. It was implausible. In the end I just didn't care about the main character. Too bad.
Feb 02, 2013 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, thriller
Le Crime impressed me as a book of starts and stops. The parts about the body dumped on Louis Morgon's doorstep, his investigation and resolution were pretty good. They moved along at a pretty good clip. The parts about Louis's past, how he got to St. Leon sur Deme and his life there and why someone would dump a body on his doorstep had some interest, but at times the whole story ground to a halt. Le Crime is a more cerebral detective story/thriller. I liked the supporting cast, especially his f ...more
Linda Howe Steiger
I just discovered Peter Steiner's mysteries, call them cozy spy thrillers, if you will, set in France. What a treat! This is the first of a short series--several of them astonishingly out of print. Louis Morgon steps outside one bright and shiny morning to admire the sunflowers in the field outside his cottage in the tiny French town where he retired after being kicked out of the US State Department and the CIA to find the dead body of a stranger sprawled across his doorstep. In his gut he reali ...more
Jun 21, 2016 Anita rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book until the last 20 pages or so. At that point I realized this was going to be an anticlimactic ending. Very disappointing.
Mar 02, 2013 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A former CIA agent has been living in quiet retirement in a French village, eating breakfast on his terrace and painting the local scenery, when one morning he discovers a corpse on his porch. It is clear that the man was killed elsewhere and "dumped" at Louis Morgon's house on purpose. How did his old opponents find him and what does it mean? There are interesting characters here and beautiful descriptions of France. The story lagged at times, but the solution to the crime was satisfying. The d ...more
Mar 30, 2010 Johnny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a quiet storm that runs through this book. Not exactly tension, but a sense that more is going on than what is being described. It held my interest, but was ultimately unsatisfying in some ways.

The descriptions of provincial France and the specific town that the story is set in are absolutely wonderful. The opening is fun, but never quite fulfills its potential.

I have a lot of respect for the attempt to try something new within the espionage genre, but the consciously soft ending was a b
Jan 19, 2014 Mike rated it liked it
The writing is excellent and the story is well told, except for the question, "Why should the reader care about Louis? There did not seem any joy in his life, he was always coasting without a goal or sense of purpose. Not uplifting.
Sep 18, 2010 Skip rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
The first Louis Morgon book (also titled Le Crime.) Abandoning his family and friends after an ignomious departure from government service, Louis treks through France before settling in a little town. A dead body shows up on his doorstep, leading back to his nemesis and the nemisis's wife's unfaithfulness. Along with his French policeman friend's help, he skillfully deflects the nemesis's attempt to kill him at Charles deGaulle airport.
Aug 04, 2011 james rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good well-written story about a former CIA operative who was forced out of his job and currently lives in a small town in France. He opens his front door one day to discover that a corpse had been propped up there. The local gendarme is his friend and is not too excited about this crime. Thus begins some fun & games. It's a short book, but worth reading.
Ken Fredette
Jan 24, 2012 Ken Fredette rated it it was amazing
It was a good story that unfolded quiet nicely. I was astonished that Peter Steiner could draw you into story so easily. It revolved around an old gruge that happened after Louis was divorced and cuckolded by his boss. Many years pass and the story continues when a body appears at Louis's door. You can imagine what happens.
Dec 31, 2012 Jim rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries, fiction
Steiner's simple writing style here is reminiscent of Hemingway, but in the end there was a very disappointing resolution to the murder mystery, making the murder more of a plot device than a focal point. Plenty of style, but little substance to this one. The first in a series, but I don't know if I'll be along for more of the ride.
I've read this series of three Louis Morgon mysteries in reverse order but don't feel as though I've lost anything since each book is a vague,oneiric reiteration of the same story...but it's still an entertaining story and Morgon provides an idiosyncratic but humane Point-of-View that makes the dream very pleasant...
Jan 17, 2009 Carolyn rated it liked it
Good mystery/thriller. Oddly, it is very slow paced for an international spy thriller, but its still a satisfying read. The main character is a retired State/CIA bureaucrat who stumbles on a plot to ruin him when a dead body appears at his house in the French country side
Kept me turning pages. Charming French village life, Ex-Cia meets Murder Mystery. Since I enjoy all these genres - was a nice change of pace to put them all together. Stumbled upon this on library shelf, will look for others in this series.
Basia Barbara
A very muddled ending such as are usual in real life. I was not to sure of the motive of the perpetrator. Was it revenge, envy?
Liked the characters and the locale. This is the first book of the Louis Morgon series.
Mark Pool
Nov 14, 2010 Mark Pool rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I read the three Steiner books in reverse chronological order. If I had done it the other way around, I might not have progressed to book 2. Lots of boring stuff here.
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PETER STEINER is the author of four previous books in this series, A French Country Murder (Le Crime), L'Assassin, The Terrorist, and The Resistance. The fifth--The Capitalist--will come out in February, 2016.

A former New Yorker cartoonist, Steiner lives in Connecticut and spends part of each year in France, in a village not unlike the one featured in his novels.
More about Peter Steiner...

Other Books in the Series

Louis Morgon (5 books)
  • L'Assassin (Louis Morgon #2)
  • The Terrorist (Louis Morgon #3)
  • The Resistance (Louis Morgon #4)
  • The Capitalist (Louis Morgon #5)

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