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Cézanne's Quarry (Bernard Martin Mystery #1)

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  237 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
A young woman is found murdered ...and the clues to her death point to her spurned lover, Paul Cezanne. In this richly atmospheric novel, a mysterious young woman named Solange Vernet arrives in Aix-en-Provence with her lover, a Darwinian scholar named Charles Westbury, and a year later is found strangled in a quarry outside the city. The young and inexperienced magistrate ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published July 17th 2008 by Pegasus (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

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May 24, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author blends the atmosphere and flavor of 19th century France with the murder of a mysterious and beautiful woman. The investigative judge has two weeks in which to solve it and the two suspects are Paul Cezanne and an Englishman. The author used some of the incidents in this story to give an explanation of some of Cezanne's early works which made the fictional murder appear to be real. I really enjoyed the book
Oct 23, 2008 Cindy rated it really liked it
A good historical mystery involving the painter, Paul Cezanne.
Good characterizations and detail of France in the late 1800's.
May 17, 2009 Ian rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ian by: Daniel Pope
For the last couple of weeks now I have been promising myself that I I would start Cezanne’s Quarry (I don’t know how to do the accent so I am not even going to try). However I haven’t been able to get the ball rolling for a number of excuses; I lost the book for a while, I have other reading and homework that is actually required, and I have been trying to get into running which is turning out to be a lot harder than I first thought. Now that I actually have started reading it, I find that I co ...more
Terri Lynn
Apr 30, 2013 Terri Lynn rated it it was amazing
I started this series by reading the most current book The Missing Italian Girl The Missing Italian Girl (Bernard Martin, #3) by Barbara Pope and fell so much in love with it that I am now reading the first two books.

This is the book that introduced French investigative judge Bernard Martin. Martin knows what it is to be a charity case at school, funded by rich relatives after his father died and his mother begged them for help. As the youngest judge in Aix-en-Provence in August of 1885, he got only the throwaway cases other judges didn't want but a plum
Oct 19, 2009 Aarti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plot Summary:
In late summer, 1885, a woman's body is found in a quarry near Aix-en-Provence, France. She was raped and murdered. Bernard Martin, a shy new judge in the district, is assigned to the case along with the rough-and-tumble constable in the district, Franc. At first the case seems simple. The woman, Solange Vernet, was probably murdered in a jealous rage by her lover, the English geologist Charles Westerbury. But then they learn that the artist, Cezanne, had a relationship with the wom
Jun 24, 2010 Annabelle rated it really liked it
A terrific who done it that merges an enticing description of the hills and caves of Aix-en-Provence with the familial and societal influences that formed artist Cezanne in the 1850s with a fascinating mystery of the murder of an early day feminist. Extremely well plotted, there are many red herrings including Cezanne and an English expartriate who teaches about the earth and evolution as Darwin’s work is popularized. The main character is likable and is a young magistrate Bernand Martin, from w ...more
Jul 29, 2011 Laurie added it
About forty years ago I was an American studying French in Aix in a summer program and I had drinks in a café called "Les Deux Garçons" in honor of Cézanne and Zola, who grew up there. I had trouble finding Cézanne's studio, but had no trouble seeing the Mont ST. Victoire. Pope talks about real people like Zola and Cézanne in "Cézanne's Quarry" and blends them in with a murder mystery and the controversy over Darwin's ideas. The impoverished young judge tries to be impartial and fair, while deal ...more
Apr 15, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
For me, what makes a mystery novel great is not a cleverly-constructed case with a surprising solution (though that helps), but rather a compelling detective figure. I want to be invested in the person tasked with solving the crime. More so even than the victim, it is the methods and motivations of the detective figure that must interest me. By this standard, Cezanne's Quarry is quite a success. Through the character of magistrate Bernard Martin, Pope illuminates and interrogates the ideologies ...more
Apr 30, 2013 Kathryn rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Cezanne's Quarry is a good historical mystery with a surprising suspect. The author examines the intricacies of 19th century French law, the status of women and the poor, class structure, and post revolution politics. However, the mystery is central to this story. Who killed the beautiful and intelligent Solange Vernet? Judge Bernard Martin is faced with a brutal murder and two likely suspects. Is his investigation being helped or hindered by Gendarme Franz? He must sift through sparse evidence, ...more
Deon Stonehouse
Solange is discovered strangled at the bottom of a quarry. Was it her lover, Charles Westbury, a Darwinian scholar and geologist? Did the artist Cezanne strangle her in a fit of jealousy? Or could there be another cause to Solange’s demise. Bernard is being pressured to find the truth quick! The paintings mentioned in the books are Cezanne’s real work. Pope skillfully blends the worlds of art and science in this captivating first in the series.
Meg Martin
This historical novel held my interest on several fronts: I was born not far from the scene of the action and art, and Pope's portraits of the locals evoked memories of my childhood in the village. Cezanne is my favorite painter, so I was eager to settle into this read. It did not disappoint.

Aug 12, 2008 Brice rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable read about 19th century France. Fictional town, fictional storyline, but the details are all plausible. I'm already a big fan of Cezanne's paintings, so this was a fun read.
Jun 11, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely for literary readers. Fictional story and chararacters incorporating Cezanne and Zola. Great depiction of the time period.
Craig Masten
Sep 25, 2014 Craig Masten rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this murder mystery novel, which does what I most enjoy in that genre: the depiction of a particular time and place with interesting representative characters who are involved in the crime. Think of Tony Hillerman's evocation of the American southwest,, Robert Parker's Spenser novels about Boston, or Elizabeth Peters' Emilia Peabody adventures iin late 19rh and early twentieth century Egypt.
As an artist, i was particularly taken by the author's excellent weaving impression
May 20, 2009 Kayeb rated it it was ok
I just couldn't get into this one and ended up not finishing it. I have decided when I pick a book up and feel like I am tackling it, and put off reading it for so long that I have to back track 4 or 5 pages or more to even remember what is going on, I don't have to read this one remains unread in its entirety. I thought I might enjoy it from a sort of historical novel perspective, but that didn't even cut it. It isn't terrible writing, but is not compelling or even especia ...more
Jim Leffert
Nov 19, 2011 Jim Leffert rated it really liked it
I would rate this book 3 !/2 stars if that were possible. It’s a historical mystery, set in the mid-1880’s in Aix-au-Provence, France. An incandescent young woman, Solange Vernet, has set local tongues wagging. Not only does she live together, unwed, with the English professor Charles Westerbury, but the couple host a weekly salon where Westerbury holds forth on newfangled scientific ideas that challenge the traditional Catholic faith. When Mlle. Vernet is found murdered at the local quarry, sus ...more
May 22, 2014 Maria rated it liked it
A rich mystery: gives some, emphasis on some, insight into Cezanne's life as well as an overview of life in provincial 19th century France. Piqued my interest into a bio of Cezanne. I plan to read Pope's second and third novels. Don't overlook this title.
Oct 28, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone who likes a light mystery with a dash of history
Shelves: first-reads
This was really good right from the first page. Martin is a great character and you can't help but like him right away. The story moves steadily and you don't want to put the book down for any reason. Billed as a mystery, I was expecting a bit more suspense and a little tougher-to-figure-out ending but by the time you reach that point you're encouraging Martin to figure it out too, which makes Martin more likable. Well-written with a well-told story, this is Ms. Pope's first novel; I'm looking f ...more
Jun 17, 2014 Faith rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery, 2014
Just ok but I did finish it. Early on there was a time when I might have given up, but then anal me took over. Many details about Cezanne, Zola, and 19th century France were interesting.
Oct 16, 2013 Ali rated it it was ok
Interesting as a historical novel, giving a glimpse into 19th century rural France. With not particularly interesting characters.

---------------------SPOILERS BELOW---------------------

As a mystery, it was pretty lame. Due to the structure of the novel - having an omniscient narrator relating the thoughts of the judge and the two red herrings - you knew early on that they were no more than red herrings. And had to sit and wait patiently until the first clues that pointed to the real villain wer
Nov 27, 2013 Jane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, mystery
I picked this up because I really like Cezanne's paintings. It was a good, solid mystery--police procedural meets historical mystery. A young woman is brutally murdered in a stone quarry. An Englishman, follower of Darwin, and Paul Cezanne, the painter, are suspects. At first, the young judge protagonist, Bernard Martin, thinks the murder is a straightforward crime of passion, but it turns out to be more. This novel gave a good depiction of Provence and its customs in the late 19th century. It w ...more
Jul 14, 2014 Eli rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Sure, it was trashy, but that OK every now and then.
Waste. Of. Time.

That said, I had no other pressing reads, and I DID want to know what happened, so I slogged through. I should have just skipped to the end, and moved on. The writing is second-rate, the characters are mostly flat (Martin, Clarie, and Cezanne are the only exceptions, and Martin is only just barely not a caricature), and the editing is shoddy. The mystery was intriguing-ish, at best. There's just...nothing there. Move along.
Dec 21, 2008 Patricia rated it did not like it
Shelves: art-mystery, gave-up
I may try this again later. It did not grab and hold my attention although I like the premise very much. But the main character, the judge, was supposed to be a boring little man and...he was! I did get to where Cezanne himself appears, but he wasn't particularly sympathetic either and I remained unengaged, so I went on to more interesting reads. It's due back at the library tomorrow, so I many not get back to it any time soon, if at all.
Kaye Stambaugh
Jul 27, 2013 Kaye Stambaugh rated it really liked it
Who can resist a murder mystery where the prime suspect is Paul Cezanne? Set in late 1800's France, including real life characters such as Cezanne and Zola gives the mystery an interesting twist. I found myself googling certain Cezanne paintings and checking Zola's status in the world at that time. A decent mystery, a protagonist you cheer for and adding Cezanne and Zola to the mix made this a fun read.
Aug 01, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it
Engaging mystery that reveals the young judge Martin's insecurities, the bullying nature of France the policeman, Martin's inexperience in love but Cezanne's callus love, Westbury's hubris, and the role of Martin's intuition. The ending was swift and held together well - drawing to a full conclusion while leaving the door open to future stories about the judge.
I won this book on first reads.

A recommended read! I love the way mystery and romance is entangled with history and thought provoking information. This is without a doubt one I will keep and read again and again. It has also opened my mind to other issues that I would not have thought of. I will definately have to examine these thoughts further.
Elizabeth Managan
Oct 01, 2013 Elizabeth Managan rated it liked it
The ending managed to be a little too neat while leaving things that should have been settled unclear, but the overall story was good, and author did a good job of keeping us guessing on the whodunit until the end. Also a good sketch of daily life in Provence, and interesting to know about the Zola-Cezanne connection.
Oct 17, 2011 Joan rated it it was ok
Disappointed with this one. I generally like fiction (mysteries, in particular) set in various locations around the world. i also like those which include real life people as fictional characters, such as Cezanne, in this case. But, I could not get really interested in the characters or the plot.
Blaine DeSantis
Feb 25, 2013 Blaine DeSantis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable read. First novel by this author. Loved it from page 1. Thought her use of dialogue was very good, and she kept the killer a very good secret until the end. My only criticism was that the end was a tad bit too neat, and wanted more about Martin and Claire.
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Barbara Corrado Pope is the author of three historical novels set in late-19th-century France. Long an admirer of a variety of European mystery writers like Simenon, LeCarre, Pears and Mankell, she strives to meld her love and knowledge of the past with the page-turning styles of these masters. Her first novel, Cezanne’s Quarry, was nominated for an Oregon Book Award; her second, The Blood of Lorr ...more
More about Barbara Pope...

Other Books in the Series

Bernard Martin Mystery (3 books)
  • The Blood of Lorraine: A Novel
  • The Missing Italian Girl  (Bernard Martin, #3)

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