Review: Die Around Sundown by Mark Pryor

Description (from cover): “Summer 1940: In German-occupied Paris, Inspector Henri Lefort has been given just five days to solve the murder of a German major that took place in the Louvre Museum. Blocked from the crime scene but given a list of suspects, Henri encounters a group of artists, including Pablo Picasso, who know more than they’re willing to share.

With the clock ticking, Henri must uncover a web of lies while overcoming impossible odds to save his own life and prove his loyalty to his country. Will he rise to the task or become another tragic story of a tragic time?

Five days. One murder. A masterpiece of a mystery.”

My Thoughts:

This book was an interesting take on WWII. I have never read a book that focuses on what life was like in occupied France during WWII. In this book we meet Henri Lefort, who is a police officer in Paris in 1940. The Germans have taken over the government and have installed their own officers in the police force. When a German officer, who worked at the Louvre Museum going through priceless artwork and artifacts to send back to Motherland, is found murdered, Henri is given a deadline of five days to solve the murder or risk his own life. Using the list of potential suspects provided to him by the German major heading the investigation, Henri reluctantly sets out to solve the murder of one of his enemies.

I really enjoyed how the author portrayed how the French people really resented the Germans during their occupation of France. The French people were bitterly resolved to their occupation, but they did not like the Germans and fought back in any way that they could. Henri loathes the Germans, but knows that going against them would lead to his arrest or death. Henri conducts his investigation as only he knows how, by seeking the truth at no matter what cost. With the help of his sister, friends and even Pablo Picasso, Henri is resolved to see this investigation through all the way to the end.

There were so many twists and turns in this book and not everything is as it appears to be. I literally gasped aloud at certain times in this book because of the surprises I did not see coming. I really enjoyed this book and the way it portrayed a different side of WWII in occupied France. I highly recommend this book for lovers of historical mystery set in WWII with a different take on things and can’t wait to see if there is more in store for this series in the future.

Overall Rating: 4 stars

Author: Mark Pryor

Series: N/A

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Publication Date: August 16, 2022

Pages: 321

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

A Question of Betrayal by Anne Perry

Description (from cover): “On her first mission for MI6, the daring young photographer at the heart of this thrilling new mystery series by bestselling author Anne Perry travels to Mussolini’s Italy to rescue the lover who betrayed her.

Britain’s secret intelligence service, MI6, has lost contact with its informant in northern Italy, just as important information about the future plans of Austria and Nazi Germany is coming to light. And young Elena Standish, to her surprise, is the only person who can recognize MI6’s man–because he is her former lover. Aiden Strother betrayed Elena six years ago, throwing shame on her entire family. Now, with so much to prove, Elena heads to Trieste to track down Aiden and find out what happened to his handler, who has mysteriously cut off contact with Britain.

As Elena gets word of a secret group working to put Austria in the hands of Germany, her older sister, Margot, is in Berlin to watch a childhood friend get married–to a member of the Gestapo. Margot and Elena’s grandfather, the former head of MI6, is none too happy about the sisters’ travels at this tumultuous time, especially when a violent event at home reminds him that even Britain is growing dangerous. As his own investigation collides with his granddaughter’s, what’s at stake on the continent becomes increasingly frightening–and personal.

Against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Europe, New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry crafts a novel full of suspense, political intrigue, and the struggle between love and loyalty to country.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Elena Standish series by Anne Perry that takes place in the 1930’s in an Europe that is increasingly gearing up for war. In the period after World War I and the rise of Hitler in Nazi Germany, Britain’s MI6 is actively engaged in preventing another war by using spies strategically placed in Nazi Germany, and in Northern Italy. There appears to be plans afoot to overthrow the new Austrian Chancellor, Engelbert Dollfuss, and have Nazi Germany take over the country to further the political ambitions of Hitler. MI6 has agent Aiden Strother in place in Northern Italy to pass along information to the British and to keep them informed of Hitler’s plans. When Strother’s handler, Max, seemingly appears to go missing with no contact, MI6 sends in Elena in order to find Max and bring Strother and his information back to England. The only reason they send in Elena is because Aiden was her former lover and she is the only one who can be relied upon to find him.

This book was a little chaotic and hard to follow at times. I had a hard time keeping up with everything for a little while, but towards the end, I was able to get hooked into the story and wanted to see how it ended. I felt the ending was a little rushed and could have been a little more thought out. I liked the characters and the historical context. I always find it interesting to read about World War II and how it started. Europe really didn’t want to fight another war right after one that caused so many losses and struggles, but Germany was determined to recover and make a name for itself at any cost.

Anne Perry has long been a favorite author of mine and I am glad that she has branched out and decided to write books in a different era as she normally writes in about Victorian England. While this book wasn’t the greatest book I read, I still appreciate her attention to detail and her way with endearing her readers to the characters. I will see what the next book in the series, A Darker Reality, has in store for these characters, but it seems that there will need to be a little more moving forward for this to become a series that I really enjoy and love.

Overall Rating: 2.5 Stars

Author: Anne Perry

Series: Elena Standish Mystery #2

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: September 8, 2020

Pages: 305

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library, and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.