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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Exiles--1920's Paris Literary Mystery

The literary mystery which focuses on the world of writers has always been a favorite sub-genre of mine.  When it's also set in Paris in the 1920's,  I am over the moon--or at least the Eiffel Tower.   This is why I purchased Exiles by Lawrence J. Epstein and reviewed it for Bookplex.


Author Lawrence J. Epstein’s has written extensively about Judaism and Jewish life.  This book is a departure since it’s his first mystery. Although the central character of Exiles has a Jewish background, he has come to Paris to escape his past.   In the 1920’s, which is when Exiles takes place, a number of American writers had made their home in Paris.  The most prominent among them who were included as characters in this book were Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Protagonist Daniel Levin arrives in France with high hopes of becoming a writer, but is soon confronted with the murder of the editor of a literary magazine in a bookstore.

                         

                              
A real strength of the novel is that Daniel Levin is complex and well-portrayed.  Yet some readers may become impatient because he hesitates to investigate the killing for the first third of Exiles despite receiving numerous requests to do so.   I understood the inner conflict that prevented him from joining the genre’s fellowship of amateur detectives.  My interest also never flagged because I loved Daniel’s encounters with prominent literary figures and the great dialogue that ensued.

I would never have guessed that Epstein had never written a mystery before this one because there were all the requisite plot twists.   I certainly didn’t guess the identity of the killer before the end.   So I give this author high marks for the first outing of his new series.

                                          


 



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