Bastille Day Special — Authentic, Exciting Books Set in France

How are you celebrating the storming of the Bastille? I’d say the French national holiday calls for something French. So, if you can’t actually go to France for the parade on the Champs-Elysée or attend the dances and festivities traditionally held at fire stations across the country, you can pick up a book from Le French Book and be transported to France.

Here is our reading list for Bastille Day, with some deep discounts on these books set in France (mostly, at least), by French authors, translated for you. 

PARIS ART

  • The Collector by Anne-Laure Thièblemont (http://amzn.to/29xyd2A), a captivating dive into the little-known world of Paris art specialists and counterfeiters. After a father she never knew died, Marion Spicer finds herself facing the merciless microcosm of Paris art auctions and galleries, with its sharks, schemes, fences, traps, scams and attacks—a world where people will kill for a love of beauty. 

PARIS SUSPENSE

  • The Paris Lawyer by Sylvie Granotier (http://amzn.to/2a4Is0e), psychological suspense in the French capital. An ambitious rookie lawyer in Paris catches a case that sparks a determined search for the truth in her own life.

DARKNESS IN THE CITY OF LIGHT

Paris, the French capital, the City of Light, and the perfect setting for crime, and an actual character in Frédérique Molay’s award-winning Paris Homicide series.

  • The 7th Woman (http://amzn.to/29sRoj5) launches the series and gives the city a whole new dimension, with “ratcheting tension” and suspense. Terror stalks Paris. Will the team of elite crime fighters prevail?

FRENCH SPIES NOT FRENCH FRIES

  • The Rare Earth Exchange by Bernard Besson (http://amzn.to/29xKDaU), a chilling financial espionage novel and an unsettling look at a post-Panama Papers world. A team of freelance operatives gets caught up in a web of corruption and cyberterrorism in a struggle to control rare minerals key to today’s technology. “As subtle as a chess game, and as explosive as today's headlines.”

FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE AND GOURMET ATTITUDE

Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen’s Winemaker Detective series (http://amzn.to/29xAkUh) is a celebration of France combining enticing mysteries, mouthwatering accounts of food and wine along with authentic descriptions of French countryside. A vacation with quirky characters and winetasting, British-like mysteries with a French flair.

  • The Winemaker Detective: An Omnibus (http://amzn.to/29xAYkr) is a fine introduction to this series, with three titles in one. 
  • Late Harvest Havoc (http://amzn.to/29AJKBu). Disaster strikes the vineyards in Alsace. Vintners are tense and old grudges surface. The Winemaker Detective's reputation is on the line as he must find the cause before the late harvest starts.
  • Tainted Tokay (http://amzn.to/29Ktgtc). The Winemaker Detective encounters deceit and deception in Old World Europe. 

EUROPEAN ACTION AND ADVENTURE

The Consortium thriller series (http://amzn.to/29DR9Be) by David Khara offers a roller-coaster ride that dips into the history of World War II, then races through a modern-day loop-to-loop of action and humor. What impact could the folly of World War II—death camps, medical manipulation and chemical warfare—still have today?

  • The Bleiberg Project
  • The Shiro Project
  • The Morgenstern Project

 

  • Shadow Ritual (http://amzn.to/29xAvPx) by Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne. The series has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. Douglas Preston calls it “Phenomenal.” Shadow Ritual has ritual murders, ancient enemies and a powerful secret, making an electrifying thriller about the rise of extremism. 

AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FRENCH FLAVOR

  • White Leopard by Laurent Guillaume (http://amzn.to/29xAIC0). In addition to a starred Publishers Weekly review, Craig Johnson (of Longmire fame) called this “the real deal.” White Leopard is African noir with a renegade PI. An ordinary case turns out to be not so ordinary. The drug mule gets her throat slit. The French lawyer is too beautiful and too well-informed. The cocaine is too plentiful. The reader travels down the roads of Mali in the protagonist’s desperate search for truth.

What's new — covers, audiobooks

New Series Covers

Check out our new covers for The 7th Woman and The Greenland Breach. Many thanks to Jeroen, our cover designer.

New Audiobooks

Audible also released a a couple of new audiobooks of recently: The Collector and Mayhem in Margaux. Click below to listen to excerpts.

Q&A with Anne-Laure Thiéblemont

With The Collector out in bookstores, we asked Anne-Laure Thiéblemont a few questions about herself and about her book.

 Author and art specialist Anne-Laure Thiéblemont

You studied to be a gemologist. How did you end up writing novels?
My companion Michel and I were in Madagascar, traveling from mine to mine in search of gems. One day, we took a bus into the middle of nowhere, to a village, where we slept on the dirt floor in a hut. The next morning at dawn, I was sitting in a field with a long line of silent women standing in front of me waiting to show me the emeralds they held in their hands. I couldn’t get that image out of my head. I wanted to broker gems to experience similar scenes, but I wrote a book instead.

What made you become a novelist?
I was very young when I decided to tell stories. It was like inventing myself over and over again with every new character. I would absorb lives, knowledge and experiences like a sponge, making them mine. I would take anything that I thought would help me grow and change. That is how I became a reporter. But I wasn’t interested in finding a scoop. I’m too subjective for straight news reporting. I like to mix fact and fiction. What I really wanted was to be a messenger, a go-between.

Where does your inspiration come from?
After getting a degree in art history, I started my working in antiques. I met people who were obsessed by owning objects, people who accumulated works of all kinds. I also met others who would burn books and lithographs so that they would hold a one-of-a-kind artwork. I remember one fellow who mortgaged his house to buy a Chinese vase, and another who hired detectives to find an antique carousel lost after WWII. I met people who surrounded themselves with art as if to protect themselves, and those for whom the objects served as a bridge between themselves and the chaos of the world. I listened to stories from auctioneers, antique dealers, and gallery owners. They all had anecdotes about a treasure hunt, or a stolen object that reappeared, or fraud, or fences tossing masterpieces in the garbage so as not to be caught by the cops.

What sparked the story in The Collector?
Once I was doing a story at a manor in Basque country. The owner worked in the textile industry, and had a basement full of Impressionist paintings. I didn’t see a single one of them. They were all encased in wooden boxes, lined up on rails. It was a mausoleum. This was the starting point for The Collector.

Have you always been interested in pre-Columbian art?
My interest in pre-Columbian art stems from the time early in my life when I lived in Colombia and Peru for a few years. Later, I reported about grave robbing. Artworks that are illegally stolen from tombs become orphans, without a chronology, separated from other traces of the civilization they come from.  They are deprived of their social, economic and historical context. They cannot be explained. They are without roots.

In 1997 in France, the art world tried to clean up its act by signing the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Objects. However, sellers and clients often have a tacit agreement not to look too deeply into the background of objects that arrive in Europe. It is easy to work around the obligations of having an export certificate. Forged papers get presented to museums. Packaging is not sealed properly, and nobody notices. Genuine articles get replaced by fakes.

In a few words, what is the theme of The Collector?
The Collector
is a first attempt for me to capture a few topics that fascinate me: transgression, the forbidden, illusions, and lies. 

Forgeries at the Louvre?

Could it be true? French art reporter and mystery writer Anne-Laure Thiéblemont and I discussed this recently. I was finalizing the translation of her novel The Collector, an art world mystery set in Paris, and I had a burning question: Could there really be forgeries in the Louvre?

Find out in this blog post that appeared at Shelf Pleasure.

 

 Art world mystery set in Paris

Two Books that Inspired an Art Mystery

 Art reporter and mystery writer

An art reporter and trained gem specialist, Anne-Laure Thiéblemont is known for her investigations into stolen art and gem trafficking. Her art world mystery novel, The Collector, just came out in English. Here, she talks about some of the places that have inspired her writing.

Two books inspired the character of the collector Edward Magni in this Marion Spicer art thriller.  The first was Werner Muensterberger’s Collecting: An Unruly Passion (Princeton University Press, 1994). The was a psychoanalyst, whose couch saw the likes of James Dean, Laurence Olivier and Marlon Brando. I learned recently that he also had a PhD in anthropology, and another in art history, and that he was a great collector of African art. Now I understand better why his book struck me and helped me to build the character of Edward Magni. Muensterberger portrays several collectors, including French author Honoré de Balzac and the English bibliophile Thomas Philipps, who wanted to procure “a copy of all the books published in the whole world.” Muensterberger’s portraits of these collectors are not those of a cold, distant entomologist, but of someone with empathy. His analysis of the irrepressible urge to collect is full of emotion. This book moved me a lot, perhaps because it is so easy for anyone to slip into addiction (a “longing for substitution”) and prefer things to people to protect them from earlier traumas.

A second book, L’Etrange Docteur Barnes by the French writer Alain Boublil, helped me to understand how an obsession to possess and accumulate objects goes beyond ethics, morality, and common values, how a collection can give a person a feeling of being all-powerful. The book is a biography of an American billionaire born in Philadelphia. But more than that, it follows how a butcher’s son develops a dangerous and eccentric love for modern art. Albert C. Barnes was an industrialist, a chemist and a millionaire by the time he turned 36 thanks to an antiseptic he developed. He went on to take revenge the conformist conservative Philadelphia society that had humiliated him. He collected works by Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, and Seurat, choices judged to be those of a “parvenu.” In Paris, he was considered a king, with gallery owners Ambroise Vollard, Kahnweiler and Leo and Gertrude Stein who found him to be intelligent, energetic and insatiable. But Philadelphia establishment rejected him. And Barnes sought revenge. He built a foundation, showed his collection there, allowed blacks in along with the working class and the poor, and refused to host the rich. He refused to see people who requested to see him, or to give meetings to art historians, but only if there was a full moon. In this biography, revenge went hand in hand with pettiness and childish behavior. Perhaps it is a way for the man to set aside his exceptional nature and return to being an ordinary person like the others.

June Book Giveaways

This month, we are happy to give away a sneak preview to two of our late summer titles. Don't miss your opportunity to win advance review copies of Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen's Flambé in Armagnac, and Anne-Laure Thiéblemont's The Collector. We also couldn't resist giving away a few more copies of Shadow Ritual since it's a great summer read.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Flambé in Armagnac by Jean-Pierre Alaux

Flambé in Armagnac

by Jean-Pierre Alaux

Giveaway ends June 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Collector by Anne-Laure Thiéblemont

The Collector

by Anne-Laure Thiéblemont

Giveaway ends July 01, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shadow Ritual by Eric Giacometti

Shadow Ritual

by Eric Giacometti

Giveaway ends July 01, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Writing Life: Meet an Author

Today, we have a few words from Anne-Laure Thiéblemont, author of an upcoming mystery set in Paris art circles: The Collector. Anne-Laure is an reporter and trained gem specialist, known for her investigations into stolen art and gem trafficking. She currently works as a magazine editor, and splits her time between Paris and Marseille. She shares her thoughts about the upcoming release.

 Art reporter and gem specialist, author of The Collector, Anne-Laure Thiéblemont

Books have the quality and advantage of circulating independently of the author.  Now, The Collector will be coming out in English and it will be released in August. I love that month more than any other. It’s the month I always plan to be at the beach. I swim and I write. That is all I do. I don’t need anything more than a few square meters right next to the water. Then, writing can take me anywhere. Being a writer is a state of being on vacation without being on vacation.

I like the way thinking, meditating, imagining, and writing bring out other ways of being in the world. Then, as a writer, what I enjoy most is meeting readers. It’s not the reviews, the promotion, the prizes. No, it’s the possibility of meeting someone who enjoys the universe I created.

I worked as a reporter for a long time, but I needed to find a more personal mode of expression. I always wanted to write a novel and the character of Marion Spicer had been tapping on my shoulder for a long time. She kept saying, “Tell my story.” And the topic of the book was important enough to me to spend three years writing it. Sometimes you can get tired of a story. It can run its course quickly and putter out. But you know early on if you have a protagonist that has enough of a structure to lead you further, and even to dictate the course of the story.

This is what happened. It wasn’t easy for me to write a mystery. But Marion's story was a mystery, so that is what I wrote.