La France des Mystères

Cleveland Park LibraryStaff Picks

La France des Mystères

Mysteries of all types in the land of wine and cheese

Get swept up in the land of wine, cheese...and mysteries. This collection of novels, murder mysteries, and non-fiction all take place in France where the background has no shortage of terrior (or sense of place). There is something for everyone, whether you like true crime, cozy mysteries, or dark puzzles. Bon Voyage!

The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah
DC Local author, Ann Mah uses her real life experience of living in France to pepper this novel with realistic details. Set in the wine country of Burgundy, Kate travels back to her estranged family's vineyard to study to become a Master of Wine. While helping her family around the estate, she uncovers family secrets that date back to World War II. This book is a must read. You’ll get swept up in descriptions of the French countryside, gorgeous wines and foods, a rekindled romance, and an old mystery. Interwoven with diary entries from Kate’s family in the 1940’s, the reader has to wait until the very end to discover the truth. For more great reading, check out Mah's memoir, Mastering the Art of French Eating.

The Vintage Caper by Peter Mayle
Peter Mayle begins his detective series with the tale of a valuable wine collection gone missing. Sam, an insurance investigator from Los Angeles is tasked with solving the puzzling robbery. His investigation leads him to the French wine country and to a mysterious wine collector that may know more than he leads on. This series only gets better as the descriptions of the French countryside and Riviera rival the plot's mysteries for its reader’s attention. If you love this, check out the rest of the series.

The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace
This nonfiction book reads like a mystery novel and tells a story stranger than fiction. What happens when a bottle of wine is discovered in a secret French cellar and could have really once belonged to Thomas Jefferson? Where had it been all this time, and was it the real deal?

The Murder on the Links by Agathe Christie
Part of the prolific Inspector Poirot series, we find our hero in Northern France solving yet another puzzling murder. One of the best in the series, Poirot experiences backlash from the national police who do not respond kindly to his involvement in the case. One of the earliest in the series, Christie finds her rhythm and sense of place in the story, while never giving up the whole mystery until the end.

Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker
Much like Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series, Bruno, Chief of Police, and its sequels, transport the reader to an idyllic and fictional town in the countryside. Bruno keeps the peace in the French town of St. Denis and solves the occasional murder or crime. For the most part, this small town's biggest problems are keeping the EU out of its business. Filled with descriptions of French food and drink, this series will keep you coming back for the mysteries and the setting.

Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance by Gyles Brandreth
Set both in England and France, Oscar Wilde teams up with Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Sherard to solve a murder. This well written mystery tells a fictionalized version of how Wilde was involved in investigating a real murder which would inspire The Picture of Dorian Gray. Narrated by Sherard, readers get to know the young Wilde and Doyle while being treated to a great story. Check out the rest of the Oscar Wilde series to continue the adventure.