Night-Scented by David Barrie

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Night-Scented by David Barrie

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The second Franck Guerin novel takes us into the world of luxury brands. It's a complex plot with some entertaining twists and comes highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: June 2010
Publisher: John Law Media
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0956251817

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Isabelle Arbaud is determined to make her mark in the world of luxury brands. Most perfumes are off-shoots of established fashion houses (or celebrity names, but let's not go down that road), but Isabelle has poached her rival's most talented perfumer and given him free rein to produce an irresistible scent which will take her upstart fashion house straight to the top. But – it would seem that someone is determined that she won't succeed. First one and then a second of her financial backers died, the first in circumstances which might have been a accident, but probably wasn't. About the second there could be no doubt. Two bullet holes are fairly conclusive evidence of a suspicious death.

We first net Frank Guerin in Wasp-Waisted and he's still on temporary assignment to Paris's Major Crimes Unit. It's the second death which brings the case his way and the circumstances are difficult. The rivalry between the fashion houses is intense and it seems that most people will stop at nothing to get what they want. In complete contrast to the world of luxury brands Guerin has to fathom out why the case seems to involve the homeless of Paris – and in particular an enigmatic man who seems to be uncomfortably close to each crime.

When I interviewed David Barrie after the publication of Wasp-Waisted I asked him how he came to be quite so knowledgeable about women's lingerie. Unsurprisingly he declined to answer. This time he's demonstrating his encyclopaedic knowledge of perfume production and guns. It's knowledge that's worn very lightly though – you'll never feel that you're being given a lesson - but it certainly adds to the enjoyment of the story. Once again there's a real sense of Paris too, from the homeless living under the bridges through to the elegant hotels. It's the real Paris – not the one the tourists see.

I like Franck Guerin. He's a man with a past but he's someone you can believe in. There are no problems with authority. He doesn't seem to have a drink problem and there are no suggestions that he's a womaniser – yet he still comes across as very real, particularly in the way that he interacts with other people. I really do hope that we'll be seeing more of him.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

You can read Night-Scented without having read Wasp-Waisted but why deprive yourself of the pleasure of reading them both? For another book with a strong flavour of Paris we can cautiously recommend Murder in the Latin Quarter by Cara Black. Night-Scented is the better book but lacks the useful map I enjoyed in Murder in the Latin Quarter. It does have a most useful glossary at the end – and I wish more books would follow this example.

Buy Night-Scented by David Barrie at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Night-Scented by David Barrie at

Buy Night-Scented by David Barrie at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Night-Scented by David Barrie at


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