Come by BookPeople on Saturday, August 20th, at 6 PM, for a panel discussion with two fantastic authors from Seventh Street Books! Mark Pryor will be speaking and signing his latest Hugo Marston novel, The Paris Librarian, reviewed below. He’ll be joined by James Ziskin, author of the Ellie Stone series, speaking and signing Heart of Stone.
- Post by MysteryPeople Contributor and Character in the Novel Meike Alana
The Paris Librarian is the latest installment in Mark Pryor’s series featuring Hugo Marston, the cowboy-boot wearing former FBI profiler from Texas who now heads up security at the American Embassy in Paris. It has something for everyone—booze, guns, action, beautiful women, history, humor, danger, fantastic French food, and BOOKS!
The novel finds Hugo, an avid collector of rare books, negotiating a potential addition to his collection—his friend Paul Rogers, the director of the American Library, is arranging the sale of some books to raise funds for the library. Hugo and Paul set up a meeting for the next morning, but when Hugo arrives at the library he finds Paul dead, the victim of an apparent heart attack. Paul had been inside a locked room so it doesn’t appear that foul play was involved, but Hugo has a tingling in the back of his neck which suggests there may be more at play—and years of experience have proven that tingling is rarely wrong.
As Hugo looks further into his friend’s death, he discovers that Paul had been appointed to manage the recently donated letters of famous American actress Isabelle Severin. The beautiful actress had long been rumored to have helped the Resistance during frequent trips to France toward the end of WWII. Even more fascinating is the legend that her collection may include a dagger which she used to kill an SS officer.
Hugo sets out to determine whether Paul’s death could have been arranged, and if it could have been related to the Severin collection. He is aided and abetted by his long-time friend Tom Green; his former FBI coworker is a bit of a wild card and will go to any lengths to provide invaluable assistance to the more rule-abiding Hugo.
Pryor’s series is one of my favorites. His novels are populated by a cast of unique, fully-fleshed out characters (they include a dominatrix and a transgender police officer of color). Hugo himself is a bit of an outsider—he’s a Texan living in Paris—and that otherness makes him an astute observer of people. The plots are intricately crafted and will keep you guessing until the end. And for the passionate reader, Pryor’s love of books shines through and is particularly entertaining (the first Hugo book is titled The Bookseller and begins with the murder of his friend Max, the titular Seine-side book stall owner). The Paris Librarian is the 6th in the series.
Any mention of Pryor’s books must include his stand-alone crime novel The Hollow Man, which deals with a British musician working as a prosecutor in Austin, TX who happens to be a sociopath. Pryor himself is a British author working as a prosecutor in Austin, TX. You’ll have to read the book and form your own opinion as to where the similarities end….
You can find copies of Pryor’s latest on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. Come by BookPeople this upcoming Saturday, August 20th, at 6 PM for a panel discussion with Mark Pryor and James Ziskin, speaking and signing The Paris Librarian and Heart of Stone, respectively.