"The French Widow" By Mark Pryor: Review/Giveaway

 Review by Terrance McArthur

 Details at the end of this post on how to win a pdf copy of the book and links to purchase it.

The Lambourds are a rich, French family, so important that the matriarch’s husband had to change his family name to hers. They meet once a year for a dinner in the museum that was their home. This year, assault, art theft, and murder are on the menu in Mark Pryor’s The French Widow.

Into this family gathering comes Hugo Marston, regional security officer at the American Embassy, because the young woman who was garroted and left for dead was American. Marston is a sudden celebrity in Paris because he stopped and killed a park shooter…but the shooter’s identity might be a problem for the Embassy and the Ambassador…and for Hugo.

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Image Source Seventh Street Books
Texas-born, Ex-CIA, former profiler, Hugo is not supposed to investigate the shooter, since he was involved in the case, but he also happens to be nosy. He takes steps Parisian law enforcement aren’t taking, but he works well with the detective on the Lambourd case. The two investigations are labyrinthine, with solutions that take time for unraveling. Some chapters are from the point-of-view of a psychopath who hints at the truth, but muddies the water as much as possible.

This ninth Hugo Marsten book continues to please, thrill, delight and mystify. The City of Lights is a character, more than a setting, as Parisian sights influence each chapter. The Lambourd family is more of a setting than characters. A matriarch who may have killed her husbands, siblings who hate each other for many reasons, the super-rich who have to sell off possessions, a grandson who is often bailed out of trouble, all of them are part of the tapestry. They are rich, consider themselves beyond the rules of the little people, and dine extravagantly. Thankfully, some recipes are not included. As it is said, revenge is a dish best served cold.

Jumping in when a series has had eight installments of history might seem difficult, but most of the backstories are understandable without a map to guide you. Starting at the beginning (The Bookseller) would be enjoyable, but not necessary. Spending any time with the pleasantly irritating Hugo, who notices the small things of attitude and fact, is well worth the visit, and saves the price of trans-Atlantic airfare.  

To enter to win a pdf copy of The French Widow, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "widow,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 19, 2020. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new Christmas episode went up this week, and another will go up next week.

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian in Fresno County, California. He is also a storyteller, puppeteer, magician, and maker of pine needle baskets. On top of that he writes stories that range from rhymed children's tales to splatterpunk horror. He's an odd bird, but he's nice to have around.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. This is an excellent series, I recommend it highly.

    karen94066 at aol.com

  2. Enjoy a story about "loving" families.
    Sounds like an interesting read.
    Might be a new series for me to follow.


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