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Death in Provence

(Penelope Kite #1)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,110 ratings  ·  203 reviews
The first entry in a clever, lighthearted mystery series set in modern Provence—a delightful blend of Agatha Christie and Peter Mayle—featuring the irrepressible Penelope Kite, a young-at-heart divorcee with a knack for stumbling across dead bodies.

It’s love at first sight when Penelope Kite sees Le Chant d’Eau—The Song of Water—the stone farmhouse tucked high in the hills
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Harper
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Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,110 ratings  ·  203 reviews

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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Death in Provence is a shiny new mystery series, bordering on cozy, by Serena Kent. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Every mystery needs a sleuth, and here we have Penelope Kite. She seems to find dead bodies wherever she goes.

Penelope buys Le Chant d’Eau (“The Song of Water”), a stone farmhouse in the hilly countryside of Provence, as a retirement gift for herself. She’s divorced from a cad and tired of playing free babysitter to her grandchildren, so this phase of life is about her. In her former life, she worked
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to paulinereidbookreviewer by: Ellen Read
Book Review/Recommendation on - Death in Provence by Serena Kent.
This book was a recommended read by Ellen Read
Penelope Kite who lives in Esher (Surrey) in England, is house hunting in France. Penelope has taken early retirement and is seperated. Her children were upset with the fact that she was abandoning them, but she told them she wanted a life of her own. She finds a lovely place in the south of France (St Merlot) that needs renovating, but to her horror she discovers a dead body in her s
Cara Putman
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A delightful mystery involving an ex-pat British woman who moves to Provenance and stumbles onto murder and danger. Thoroughly enjoyed the pages!
Elsa Joseph
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Beach reads” are often considered a genre unto themselves: light, breezy fare that matches the light breezes of the seaside. That’s exactly how I felt reading Death in Provence. This book is as good as a holiday.
After 24 years of marriage and trying to be a good mother, 50 year old retired divorcee Penelope Kite decides to start a new life by purchasing an old farm house in the South of France. When she receives the keys to her new home to start renovations, shockingly she finds the dead body o
Maine Colonial
Ever since the late Peter Mayle wrote his famous A Year in Provence, English speakers can’t get enough of books about life in that sun-soaked area in the south of France. Whether the books are memoirs, novels or mysteries, they all share one thing, and that’s that they are above all else lifestyle porn. The books appeal to the eye, with their descriptions of mountains, rippling fields, village squares and rustic stone houses with huge beams, tiled floors and massive fireplaces; the nose, with sc ...more
Cathy Cole
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading Martin Walker's delightful Bruno Chief of Police mysteries and now this charming series opener, I might be forgiven for believing that all crime in the south of France seems to tie into World War II. A lot happened then, and old resentments seem never to be forgotten, only handed down from one generation to the next. Yes, the mystery in Death in Provence does hark back to that period of time, and it is a good, strong puzzle to solve, but I found myself liking other things even more ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Perfect reading material for literary wanderlust to PROVENCE

Serena Kent is the author name of husband-and-wife writing duo, Deborah Lawrenson and Rob Rees and they clearly work well together as they have produced a delightful cosy murder mystery set in the heart of Provence.

Penelope Vine has reached retirement age (at the ripe age of 50!); she has tended her family, she has invested enough of her time working in forensic pathology, she is divorced. So it is time for this merry divorcée to strike
Great start to a new series!
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
For fans of cozy mysteries with an international setting— this book doesn’t make you think too hard, and has some enjoyable scenery and gastronomic elements to it. However, I felt the characters were underdeveloped and there were some odd choices in their backstories. I’m not sure any British woman would be found uttering “hell’s bells” as often as our protagonist, and BFF Frankie absolutely comes across as obnoxiously American. Bit longer than a typical cozy read in my opinion, so if that’s you ...more
Patricia Sands
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A clever story that combines good humour, memorable characters, and an intriguing mystery, as it brings the readers into the heart of life in Provence. I loved it!
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
This started out with great promise then slowly got repetitive 😔 I lost interest but did finish it.
Feb 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked the characters and the setting--can't go wrong with Provence--and the writing style was enjoyable. I laughed out loud at times. But the pace was much too slow. ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book very much. Penelope Kite is recently divorced and under appreciated by her step children. She is living in England and decides to live out a dream. She buys a run down farm house with beautiful views in southern France. She envisions reading on her outside terrace and getting back into playing her cello which has fallen by the wayside during her past busy life. She has had little time for herself. She was an assistant for a well know forensic scientist in the Home Office. She ...more
Dec 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Meandering plot with increasingly bewildering questions. Animated characters and the setting kept me interested
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Penelope Kite is a 50 year old retired divorcee, and after years of being at everyone's beck and call she decides to start a new life by purchasing an old house in the south of France. The house is gorgeous but in need of many renovations, but Penelope is up for this challenge. She's happy - until she finds a body floating in her swimming pool! Penelope soon finds out that there is more to this death as initially supposed and with police that's not so willing to cooperate, she has to use her ski
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars
For fans of cozy mysteries with an international setting, this book is for you.
I had such high hopes for this book. I bought it because of the cover, the graphics and colours had a nice appeal. However, “Do not judge a book by its cover!” is the saying and it, unfortunately, applies here.
The story and writing is capable and the location is great. However, it was too verbose and slow for my taste. It seemed to take forever to get somewhere and to get on with the storyline.
The book did no
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of Mysteries, Cosy Mysteries
Shelves: mystery, edelweiss
DEATH IN PROVENCE is a wonderful, light, and relaxed read with all of the matching vibes you get when on holiday. That’s exactly how I felt - this novel is almost as good being on a long vacation.

It is a refreshing, mystery fiction novel set in wonderfully scenic St Merlot, a sleepy, quiet village that has infrequent visitors at the unfashionable end of the Luberon Valley, France. St Merlot is unspoilt, with dry stone walls and wildflowers.

What’s really likeable about it straight-away are the op
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-europe
Early retiree Penelope Kite is happily divorced, but the stepchildren she raised are needy and still expect her to pitch in with their busy households. After one too many instances of ingratitude, she buys a decrepit farmhouse on the unfashionable side of Provence and moves to France. But what does she find there but a body in her swimming pool! The police suggest it's an accident--the victim was a well-known local drunk and layabout--not realizing that Penny was the much-relied upon secretary o ...more
Ellen Read
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I so enjoyed Death in Provence.

Although I’m still to visit Provence, I’ve always loved the locale, the colours, and the lavender. This story brings them all out and I loved it.

It’s a light-hearted murder mystery, filled with intrigue and laughs. A loved the characters. The main character, Penelope Kite is a wonderful, older woman, clever, and determined to discover why there was a body in her swimming pool. Not what she expected when she bought a home in the small village of St Merlot.

This is a
Rocky (theurbanbookshelf)
This was such a fun cozy mystery. It was very light and airy and will make for the perfect summer/ beach read!

What would you do when you go through a divorce and finally retire from your job and it seems like your kids are just using you as a babysitter? Penelope decided it was her chance to buy her dream house in Provence or so she thought. Provence is the definition of small town and old fashioned and doesn’t seem too fond of newcomers. Since her first night at the house and finding a dead bod
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ll have another carafe of rosé, and the next installment of this series. Please and thank you.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

The first installment in the Penelope Kite series, Death in Provence by Serena Kent is a charming cozy mystery.

Following a holiday in the French countryside,  Penelope Kite rather impulsively purchases a rundown country home in Provence. Upon her arrival, she is confronted with an overgrown yard, falling down plaster, no electricity or running water. Drowning her sorrows in a delicious rosé, Penelope is startled by the drunken appearance of a man who claims he owns her property. The ne
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Her dream house in Provence. The cicadas, the annoying wasps. If only she had known what lay in store.” ... and a dead body floating in her pool.

I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery set in Provence as I have always wanted to visit there. This book with lots of rose wine, delicious food, charming villages, lavender, and French characters, gives a wonderful sense of place.

Ex Pat Penelope helps solve the mystery of dead bodies and bullets flying by her everywhere she seems to go. Of course she meet
Elysia Fionn
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
First of all, hats off to anyone who can pull off writing a book with their husband (and both of them survive the event)... I love my husband dearly, but if you ever want to see us go completely off the rails, put us together on an artistic project. Whoo-boy!

That being said, this book is really a fun read. One of the things I loved about it was the name-dropping of Poirot, Cadfael, and some other of my well-known and much-loved British sleuths.... however, I found it exceedingly funny that middl
Suzanne Robertson Moutis
I had such high hopes for this book. I wanted a little confection that would take me to the south of France with a soupçon of intrigue and romance. This novel is the first in a new series about an ex-pat English forensics specialist who, post-retirement, buys a house in the Luberon region and finds a dead body in her pool – what's not to like? So it kind of surprised me that it took me a long time to get through. It seemed completely in my wheelhouse and yet, after a week I was only halfway thro ...more
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: france, mystery
We meet Penelope Kite at the beginning of her new adventure in Provence. Having swapped life in Surrey, where she is at the beck and call of a demanding family, for a farmhouse with potential in the south of France, things immediately start to go wrong. The discovery of a dead body floating in her swimming pool, strange comings and goings on her property, and a painfully slow police investigation, mean her idyllic new life in France is anything but.

Thankfully she has plenty of chilled rosé and f
Tara (Spinatale Reviews)
An entertaining and enjoyable cozy mystery! This one features Penelope, a Brit who moves to Provence in search of a fresh start. After she discovers a body in her new swimming pool and the threatening accidents start to accumulate, Penelope must take matters into her own hands to solve the murder while figuring out which of her new neighbors she can trust. Although I found the characters and the plot enjoyable, the descriptions of Provence and the food stole the show for me. If you're looking fo ...more
Neil Plakcy
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There's a clever mystery concealed under the trappings of a holiday novel. Penelope Kite, a British divorcee, has retired at a relatively young age from work as the assistant to a forensic scientist.

She buys a villa in rural Provence, and almost immediately finds a body in her swimming pool. Is this just anti-foreigner sentiment, or is there something more at work?

A fun cast of characters and lovely descriptions make this an engaging read.
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
for some reason my expectations were very low for this one so I was pleasantly surprised. it was fun, interesting, and I couldn't guess the murderer.
it also made me want to drink wine and eat croissants and visit Provence, but that's not unusual.

I see there is a sequel but, sadly, my library doesn't have it. I think I will suggest they get it!
Jun 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
This book is about 20% murder mystery, 80% internalized fatphobia. The lead spends more time eating, drinking rosé, and feeling guilty about doing so, as well as jealous of the thin side characters than she does anything else. It ends with her losing weight and feeling confident and frankly, it's 2020 and I'm too tired for this. ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine Editions - "Death in Provence" by Serena Kent 2 12 Dec 16, 2018 11:06AM  

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Serena Kent is the author name of husband-and-wife writing duo, Deborah Lawrenson and Robert Rees. Deborah has previously published eight novels including The Art of Falling, The Lantern, The Sea Garden and 300 Days of Sun.

Other books in the series

Penelope Kite (2 books)
  • Death in Avignon (Penelope Kite #2)

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