Monday, March 4, 2013

M. L. Longworth

M. L. Longworth has written for The Washington Post, The Times (London), The Independent, and Bon Appétit magazine. She is the author of a mystery series set in Southern France, the Verlaque and Bonnet Provençal Mysteries, published by Penguin USA. Death at the Château Bremont was published in June 2011, Murder in the Rue Dumas was released on September 25th 2012, and the third book, Death in the Vines, is set for release in July 2013.

Longworth has lived full-time in France for over fifteen years and divides her time between Aix-en-Provence, where she writes, and Paris, where she teaches writing at New York University's Paris campus.

Last month I checked in with the author about what she was reading. Longworth's reply:
It's part Brideshead Revisited, part Maurice and part Downton Abbey. Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger’s Child is a perfect study of Englishness, social codes, and changing cultural and sexual attitudes (the book begins in 1913 and ends in the 80s). Each scene covers a limited amount of time in rich detail, hinting at what has gone on before and inviting us to wonder at what will come. Hollinghurst describes a room, or a person's thoughts, over pages, where another writer would use a paragraph (but it's never dull! Proust to me is; perhaps it's time I try reading him again). The minute I finished The Stranger’s Child, I felt like reading it again, which is much to be said for a book that's over 560 pages long. My only gripe: are all English men secretly gay, as they seem to be in this book, and middle-aged women sloppy, dreary, alcoholics?

I resisted reading this book until my husband bought me a signed copy in a small London bookshop. And I was happier than I thought I would be with P.D. James's Death Comes to Pemberley. James writes with much authority and maturity, using a Regency-style voice that's unforced and seems effortless. The characters feel real, as do their surroundings (although I would have liked more of Lizzie). James makes fun references to other characters in Pride and Prejudice, as well as Emma and Persuasion. And the mystery had me guessing right up to the end, as a good mystery should.
Visit M. L. Longworth's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Murder in the Rue Dumas.

--Marshal Zeringue