Charles O’Brien’s fourth book in the Anne Cartier series, Lethal Beauty, is another entertaining and twisting mystery with Anne Cartier and her husband col. Paul de Saint-Martin. Although not as strong as the first three books, the book is worth the read.
Here is a brief synopsis of the book from the book’s website:
The action begins in August 1787 and takes place chiefly in and around the Louvre at the time of the biennial Salon, an exhibition of the best of French painting and sculpture of the past two years. Home of the royal family for centuries, the Louvre now provided quarters for artists and their students, royal pensioners, the royal printing office, and various royal academies. Lust, greed, pride and the other deadly sins flourished there as elsewhere in Paris. The story opens with the accidental (?) death of a countess, followed by the defacing of her portrait, and the murder of a painter. Anne Cartier and her husband, Colonel Paul de Saint-Martin attempt to unravel an increasingly complex mystery, at some risk to themselves.
I did like the plot for this book. O’Brien keeps you guessing on who the suspects are in the murders. He switches your suspicions frequently. However, I felt that the involvement of one of the characters was a little too coincidental – I think O’Brien could have tied the story together better.
The character development is not up-to-par with the previous books. I understand that O’Brien does not want to give away the murderer with a more detailed development, but he could have done more development with a few of the characters. I can only hope he improves upon that in his next book.
I still think this book is worth a look.