Vicky's Reviews > A Hotel in Paris: A Minola Grey Mystery

A Hotel in Paris by Margot Justes
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May 24, 11

bookshelves: cozy-mystery
Read in January, 2007


This book starts out with a promising premise, a murder mystery in the heart of Paris. The author does a very good job describing the setting. Her descriptions are well done, evoking the flavor and sites of Paris. Unfortunately, that is the best part of the book.

The main character, Minola Grey, takes a teaching position in Paris at an art school. She lives in a nearby hotel where she is on good terms with the staff. One morning, she finds the man who lives across the hall from her has been murdered. She decides she is going to help investigate and runs up against Interpol Inspector Peter Riley. Of course trouble ensues as the two fight over the investigation and their own growing attraction.

In her dedication, Ms. Justes claims to have put this book past crit partners and others. I’d like to strongly suggest they all take a look at a good grammar book as well as a basic point of view craft book. She uses the vernacular “alright” instead of the more grammatically correct “all right”, seems to be in love with the word “homage”, as she uses it at least four times in two pages. Once has impact, multiple times for an unusual word such as this is disconcerting. The dialogue is stilted and bland, the characters flat. We are told so many times that the main character is an artist that it becomes tedious and irritating. But what was worse were the frequent – as in nearly every paragraph – point of view shifts. I was never sure whose story this was. Granted, POV shifts are normal in romance novels, but the shifts usually occur with scene changes or chapter changes, not every few sentences.

In addition, the relationship between Peter and Minola is almost unbelievable and their reactions to each other leave a lot to be desired. We’re supposed to believe Peter sees an attractive woman with two rooms (emphasized several times) in a hotel and immediately believes her to be a hooker. Everyone in the hotel knows she’s an artist, why doesn’t he? After all, he’s a police inspector. There were other anomalies in the story as well.

If you’re looking for a very quick read that has very little to recommend it other than a decent description of Paris and a mildly interesting mystery, then go ahead and pick this up. But if you care about good writing, solid characters, and believable relationships, pass on this one.
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