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3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  187 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
It begins with the appearance of a stranger at his door -- an unwelcome visitor ranting madly about money, death, and forgiveness; a man known all too well to Pete's distraught wife, Lily: her father. The next day the man is dead -- and Lily disappears, leaving a note behind begging Pete not to follow. Now, with a business card from an antiques dealer in Barcelona as his o ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 29th 2003 by HarperTorch (first published 2002)
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Lewis Weinstein
Elkins has written a quite good mystery story. Also, the locations - mainland France & Corsica - are well presented. But the real strength of the book is the powerful description of what it was like in post-war France, as the resistance fighters sought revenge from those they defined as collaborators. The choices, or lack thereof, that French people had when confronted with lethal Nazi terror, offered insight into what it must have been to live under Nazi occupation. Not as bad as Auschwitz, ...more
Jul 13, 2009 Marilou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Aaron Elkins. His writing is so descriptive but not dry or boring. Not a lot of external action, just enough, but a good amount of inner dialogue from the main character. He's an easy read, very informative and instructive but his characters are charming and believable. Just an enjoyable read I could not put down...recommended to WWII fans, French Resistance fans, Nazi vs Allie...
Mar 04, 2013 Cat. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction, history
Not one of the series titles, this one is about the impact of World War II on the French, and takes place in the mid-1960s. Pretty good mystery.
May 31, 2011 Eva rated it it was ok
Nearly twenty years after WWII ended, history professor Pete Simon discovers his distraught wife yelling at a stranger on their doorstep. Only the stranger is Lily Simon's father, who according to her had been shot and killed by the Nazis in France. When her father is beaten to death and his wife disappears, Pete slowly takes a long journey to discover the truth. It takes him to Spain to find his father-in-law's business partner, to France to learn about collaboration and long-held grudges, and ...more
Aug 20, 2009 james rated it really liked it
This story starts in 1963 Brooklyn, when a mild-mannered history professor answers a knock on his door. It's an old man ranting & yelling in barely understandable English. The professor's French-born wife tells the old man to leave and pushes him away and slams the door. The next day the police arrive and tell the prof & wife that the old guy is dead, having been murdered. The old man is the father of the wife and the story leads back to France, where the past suddenly becomes alive. It ...more
Dec 28, 2013 Gail added it
Shelves: mysteries, kindle
This is not one of Elkins usual books. It is a stand-alone rather than one of his series.
Pete and Lily have had a good marriage ever since they met shortly after WWII, nearly 20 years ago. This all changes when Lily's father, whom Pete thought was dead, shows up at their doorstep and is later murdered. After Lily leaves him, Pete begins his search to find out his wife's real past in France during WWII. This, of course leads to more murder and adventures.
Like other of Elkins' books, this is more
Aug 10, 2013 Nancy rated it it was ok
I enjoy Elkins's Chris Norgren novels and his Oliver Gideon novels. I also like the golf-themed novels he co-authored with his wife. Turncoat was an entirely different matter!

The publishing date on the book is 2006, but I wonder if this book wasn't an early manuscript that lay around in a drawer for 45 years.

The first 3/4 of the book were interesting, but the final quarter was melodramatic, silly and predictable. I finished the book, but it was a struggle.
Aug 28, 2012 Scott rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Good story that I enjoyed listening to while driving to work.
Kathy Cloutier
Feb 28, 2015 Kathy Cloutier rated it really liked it
This was a good historical mystery. I plan to read more by this author.
Feb 22, 2017 Kareemah rated it liked it
Not bad.
Historical fiction set in the 50's / 60's. WWII occurrences start to intrude on life and nothing is quite as our protagonist seems to think it is. A mysterious reel of film, his resurrected father in law, his French wife's suddenly mysterious past...professor Pierre "Peter" Simon doesn't know what to think.
Apr 28, 2015 Heidi rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
This mystery about a man searching for answers about his wife's disappearance is a fairly good book; Elkins' easy writing style can't be faulted, the locations are unique, and it has a satisfying ending, but I somehow felt that it was lacking something. It's a little repetitive.

The book is set, of necessity, in the past, dealing as it does with the ramifications of the Occupation of France in World War II. It's November 1963, and even though the blurb on the book cover mentions the assassination
Apr 28, 2015 Kathy rated it it was ok
I'd go 2.5 if I could. Pete Simmons is a stereotypical mild college professor. Right after JFK is assassinated, Pete's wife's Father shows up on their doorstep spewing nonsense. Everything Pete thought he knew about his wife is turned upside down - she told him her Father was killed in France during WWII. When his wife goes on the lam, he decides to track her down.

What follows is an interesting lesson on life under Nazi rule, collaboration and the very real effects on the people in France. That
Chelsea Moeller
Aug 11, 2016 Chelsea Moeller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not nearly as fast-paced and intriguing as "Loot", but it tells a story as unique as the landscape of Europe during WWII.
Some of the plot seemed to be lost during Pierre Simon's search for his wife. The back and forth lost and found game got a little old, but the interesting exchanges between characters involving the cultural heritage of Corsica made up for any shortcomings.
Overall, another wonderful novel by Elkins, albeit not one of my favorites.
Feb 12, 2016 Terry rated it liked it
As the story brought Peter Simon from New York to France and Spain I learned about France after the end of the war and the feelings associated with living under Nazi domination. Hidden within a murder mystery is the exploration of French guilt of collaboration and the hostility toward revisionist historians. I picked this book up because the audio format was available from my local library. It was entertaining and the narrator excellent.
Cindy S
Feb 16, 2016 Cindy S rated it really liked it
Peter Simon's life falls apart on the day his wife's supposedly deceased father shows up at the doorstep. He tries to give her a film canister but she slams the door in his face and refuses to explain to Peter. Then she disappears. Pete begins a journey into his wife's past that leads him into the darkest corners or WWII. A real page turner with a few good twists.

Bailey Olfert
Nov 09, 2014 Bailey Olfert rated it liked it
I don't read many mysteries, but this mystery-lite is a good match for me. The writing is good, keeping me hooked, weaving in bits of history without getting dull. The characters are likeable, and largely believable.
Nov 09, 2008 Betty marked it as to-read
Not a Gideon Oliver or Chris Norgren series book
Oct 13, 2011 Jandblock rated it really liked it
Very good story set in the '60's with flashbacks to WWII in France. Liked it a lot, like the author.
Diana Biggs
Jul 31, 2015 Diana Biggs rated it liked it
Good quick read, twisty plot that got a little convoluted.
Nov 11, 2012 Beth rated it liked it
This was okay, but I prefer the "skeleton detective" series.
Jun 04, 2008 Carrie rated it liked it
Not a superlative example of the suspense/thriller genre. However, very interesting stuff on French collaboration during WW2.
Sep 01, 2008 Ruthanne rated it liked it
Another Nazi story. I think I liked Loot better, although Loot was gorier - more people beat up in that one if I have my stories straight...
Aug 30, 2015 L rated it really liked it
Discovered on a cape cod bookshelf, well written and a step above typical beach fare.
Charlotte Nydegger
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Jun 09, 2016
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Dana Feaster
Dana Feaster rated it really liked it
Nov 15, 2014
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Aaron J. Elkins AKA Aaron Elkins (born Brooklyn July 24, 1935) is an American mystery writer. He is best known for his series of novels featuring forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver—the 'skeleton detective'. The fourth Oliver book, Old Bones, received the 1988 Edgar Award for Best Novel. As Oliver is a world-renowned authority, he travels around the world and each book is set in a different and ...more
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