Around The World: La Belle France

Autumn is in the air and with it brings the official end of summer. Are you feeling those back to work blues? Here are our top five picks to help you feel as if you’re still tanning in the South of France and help prolong those summer vibes.


1. George Bellairs, Death in the Wasteland


First, travel to the French Riviera with Waldo and Averil Keelagher who dream of a relaxing summer in their new caravan.

These plans go awry with the unexpected arrival of Waldo’s Uncle George, a stock-broker from the city who thrusts himself upon the Keelagher’s without warning. When George is discovered dead in the wasteland of the Estérel, Waldo and Averil are pulled into a plot of suspicion and murder.

Superintendent Littlejohn, holidaying nearby, soon finds himself caught up in one of the most complicated and unorthodox cases of his career in which the characters of the suspects count for as much as their actions.


2. Margery Allingham, Sweet Danger


Margery Allingham also uses the French Riviera as a backdrop for mystery. Join Albert Campion as he investigates the kingdom of Averna, Europe’s hottest property with long-missing proofs of ownership.

His mission takes him to the sleepy French village of Pontisbright where he meets the flame-haired Amanda Fitton. Her family claim to be the rightful heirs to the principality, and insist on joining Campion’s quest. Unfortunately for them, a criminal financier is also on the trail – the clock is ticking for Campion and his cohorts to outwit the thugs and solve the mystery.


3. George Bellairs, Death in High Provence


Against the background of beautiful Provence, a fantastic case unfolds. Chief Inspector Littlejohn returns to our list and is sent back to France to make informal enquiries about a motor accident.

But his job is not easy. He finds himself amongst the sombre, secretive inhabitants of St. Marcellin, a dying French village in the mountains of High Provence. Dominated by the aristocratic Monsieur le Marquis, the village obstructs his every move.

They have underestimated Littlejohn. But has he also underestimated them?


4. Nicholas Freeling, Lake Isle

Lake Isle

A brutal robbery, a drugged teenager, and the sad delusions of a nervous old lady await Henri Castang in the picturesque French town of Soulay.

But Castang can do nothing to help Soulay’s inhabitants until another crime is connected to the small-town world of gossip, this one a violent homicide committed in a squalid Paris squat.

What do these two malicious acts have to do with each other? What lengths will Henri Castang have to go to in order to uncover the truth?


5. George Bellairs, Bones in the Wilderness


The last spot on our list returns to Bellairs and Superintendent Littlejohn who is sent to investigate a shady dealer who goes to France to buy antiques and never returns.

Littlejohn discovers the dealer’s bones in the Camargue, the wilderness around the Rhône delta, and once again finds himself, with Sergeant Cromwell at his side, in the company of the French police.

The charming people, the sunshine, the wine, and the food of the sweet land of France are all here. But so is a mysterious trail and a variety of suspicious characters. Will Littlejohn be able to solve the mystery without distraction? And will Cromwell be able to cope with the French language?