Blame it on Paris
Release date: August 24, 2018 at Thalia Press
In this seventh installment of the Bennett Sisters Mysteries, Francie goes to Paris when she is accused of wrongdoing in her law office. She has received a mysterious letter connecting her ex-husband to an American student jailed for drug crimes. A chance encounter with an old boyfriend makes her spring in Paris more exciting but between the accusations against her at home, and the difficulty of doing any good in Paris, things are never smooth for a Bennett sister in France
Excerpt: BLAME IT ON PARIS, a Bennett Sisters Mystery
By Lise McClendon
The sky hung gray and low over Pont Neuf. No twinkling sunshine on the thousands of padlocks attached like barnacles to railings on one end of the bridge. Just the oppressive dark of winter. Francie frowned at the romantic display of the so-called locks of love, more crass in person than she imagined. How did defiling a historic old bridge make love last, lock troubles out of your heart? Were the French so naïve? She wished she had some wire-cutters in her bag.
Her sister Merle stood next to her, an orange scarf blowing in the breeze off the Seine— rather foul today— looking for all the world like a Frenchwoman. Francie had bought a new red trench coat for Paris. Redheads— or strawberry blond as she preferred— weren’t supposed to wear red but she loved it, the vibrancy of vivid color spoke to her. But it was her older sister who looked the part of the chic sophisticate. Why do I always try too hard, she mused. A real Frenchwoman would simply embody savoir faire.
“What is it?” Merle asked. She always knew when you were annoyed, or blue.
Francie gave her a smile. “You look like a real Parisienne.”
Merle chuckled. “It’s the scarf. And the messy hair.” Francie agreed amiably. “No, really. What is it?” her sister demanded.
Francie thought of shrugging it off, the way she did most problems. She was strong and capable. She could deal with things; she didn’t need to burden her sisters. But the sudden trip to France was already hanging in the ether, the question of why now. It was late March, hardly the most delightful time in Paris. It was rainy and cold. The flowers were still a wish. The trees were struggling to break out of winter’s doldrums. Maybe that’s all her problems were— winter blues. Cabin fever.
But no. She slumped against the railing, clanging the love locks. It was more than just the winter.
Merle nudged her. “Come on. Tell me.”
“Office politics. Boring stuff.” Francie kept her eyes on the river.
“Out with it,” Merle demanded.
Francie took a deep breath. “So Old Ward had a stroke. You heard about that?”
“No! He was a good old boy, wasn’t he? The last of the originals?”
“The other one, Bailee, retired a few years ago. There’s some new partners. Two golfing buddies, typical Rotary Club types but good guys, good lawyers. Plus Brenda McFall. You remember her? She hired me.”
“Of course. Brenda’s great.” Merle glanced at Francie. “Is she still great?”
“Absolutely. She helped me with the promotion which has been good, more money and all that.” She paused. “Managing the junior associates is a real pain in the ass though.”
They watched the couples walking along the bridge, arm in arm. Merle had her Frenchman, Pascal. They could legitimately put a lock of love on the bridge. But who did Francie have? She shook off the feeling. She’d never been one for negative thoughts. There just wasn’t the energy, or the time.
“Managing partner is a big deal.”
“Assistant managing partner.”
Merle nodded but she wasn’t giving up. “So that’s it?”
“There are some problem children. They’ve gotten under my skin. Real hand-holding cases. If there’s anything I can’t stand it’s an associate who has to be told and shown everything, point by point, step by step, ad nauseam.” She glanced at Merle. “So I decided to take a little time off and wash off the stink. That’s all.”
Merle was squinting at her, unconvinced, but she didn’t ask again. Five asks must be her limit. Francie straightened, glad the interrogation was over. She just wanted to enjoy Paris. She hadn’t been here twenty-four hours yet. To the left was the tip of the little island that was the ancient center of the city, Île de la Cité. She thought she made out the white blush of a blooming tree and took it as a positive sign. Spring was coming.
“Shall we walk along the river?” Merle asked. They were near the stone steps to the walkway below. Francie glanced down. She wasn’t wearing the best shoes for cobblestones. As she hesitated, peering over the stone balustrade, she saw a man on the sidewalk, next to a green bookseller’s stand. He was staring at them. She blinked and looked away.
Weird but— “Sure, why not.”
They walked toward the steps. When they reached the sidewalk, Francie looked up again. The man was still there. And still staring, hands in his jacket pockets. He looked familiar. Francie grabbed Merle’s arm.
“Wait.” She turned her sister toward her. “You see that guy? Staring at us? Don’t look. You see him?”
“How can I see him if I don’t look?” Merle whispered.
“Just a glance then.”
Merle flicked her eyes over Francie’s shoulder. “Which guy?” she whispered.
“Dark hair, glasses, leather jacket, jeans. Ogling us.”
Merle pushed back her hair and took another look. “Oh, the ogler. How rude. Do you have a stalker? Is that why you came to Paris?”
Francie smiled. “No, silly. That’s— I think that’s Dylan Hardy. From law school?”
Merle looked skeptical. “Someone you know from home? That’s unlikely. Anyway, who is Dylan Hardy from law school?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lise McClendon Lise McClendon is the author of sixteen novels, mysteries, and thrillers, including her popular Bennett Sisters series featuring five sisters who are lawyers. Lise herself is not a lawyer but a francophile scribbler who enjoys imagining different lives, loves, and adventures. Her first mystery, The Bluejay Shaman, was published in 1994. She lives in Montana.
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Blame it on Paris is the seventh installment from Lise McClendon's series, Bennett Sisters Mysteries. And a great installment it is! I have read and enjoyed a few others in the series and this one does not disappoint. I loved getting to know sister Francie better in this one. I love how the author describes the setting. It made me feel as though I have traveled to the streets in France.
I enjoyed Francie's story in Blame it on Paris. I found it to be delightful, intriguing, and fun. The mystery and suspense that surrounded her brought excitement that kept me interested in what would happen next in the book.
I give Blame it on Paris four stars. I will definitely be looking out for the others in the series. This one should not be missed. I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy a good and quick mystery.
I received this book from the author. This review is 100% my ow honest opinion.