978-0-87951-701-4 / 0879517018

Murder in Montparnasse: A Mystery of Literary Paris

by Engel, Howard

Publisher:Overlook Hardcover



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About the book:

It might help to have a copy of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises handy as you read this marvelously rich and evocative mystery set among the expatriates in Paris in 1925. That way, you'll know exactly which of Howard Engel's characters are based on Hemingway's cast of thirtysomethings. Hemingway (who narrated his voice through Jake Barnes in The Sun Also Rises) is a cinch to spot in Engel's book--he's Jason Waddington, a tough American from Oak Park, Illinois, who loves boxing and bullfighting. In 1922, his wife lost a suitcase full of his original manuscripts on a train, and she has never quite gotten over the shame. That suitcase becomes a part of the mystery, as does "the Spanish novel," which Waddington wrote about his friends' bad behavior in Pamplona the summer before. Some of these "friends" will go to great lengths to keep the book from being published.

There are several lovely inside jokes, like the ambitious Belgian writer "Georges Sim" who knocks out books quickly and is encouraged to look into the possibility of writing detective stories. And there's enough drinking and snooty literary chatter about real writers and artists to make your head spin. --Dick Adler

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