Martin O’Brien

Martin O’Brien

"Martin O’Brien’s books featuring Chief Inspector Jacquot are fast becoming detective classics."


At Le Grand Monastere, an expensive and exclusive hotel in Provence, a young woman escort on a short holiday with her client goes missing. Due to the client's high profile in the local community, Chief Inspector Jacquot is called in to make discreet enquiries over the escort's disappearance, without disturbing the other rich and famous guests. Many of the guests are at the hotel to try and meet the famous painter Auguste Vilotte, also known as 'the Master'. This elderly and cantankerous artist is not only still painting but also is fabled to have a cache of drawings from Picasso and other famous painters that he has collected over the years. Many of the guests would give anything for these paintings - even commit murder. Soon Jacquot is drawn into an investigation where bodies begin to emerge at an alarming rate.

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Martin O'Brien's books featuring Chief Inspector Jacquot are fast becoming detective classics. The character of Jacquot is so strongly and appealingly written that I was becoming impatient for his appearance, which doesn't occur until part 2 of the book. However, O'Brien is keen to build the plot slowly. The first section of the book gradually draws all of the main protagonists together, detailing their reasons for travelling to the luxurious hotel and their relationship with the 'Master'. Not all of the characters work equally well. For example, I was slightly confused by the identities of the group of American painters on a study trip at the hotel. However, overall the novel is charmingly written, and the suggestion of a new romance for Jacquot is very beguiling and entrances the reader. Like the very best detective novels, the setting is exquisitely portrayed, in this case the heat and storms of the Provencal countryside making you want to join Jacquot for a glass of Pastis as he investigates the case…

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