For its meeting at noon on August 18th, The Brown Bag Book Club is reading A Paris Apartment, by Michelle Gable.
Shuttered for 70 years, the ninth arrondissement apartment is a treasure trove for furniture appraiser April Vogt. Plus, an extended trip to Paris allows her to avoid her troubled marriage. As April uses the diaries of Marthe de Florian to establish provenance of the pieces, she becomes obsessed with Marthe's Belle Epoque exploits, her rivalry with Jeanne Hugo (Victor's granddaughter), and her path from Folies Bergere bartender to renowned (if forgotten) courtesan. All the while, April struggles to forgive her husband's infidelity, a situation not helped by the presence of Luc Thebault, the estate's solicitor, who seems determined to make sure April doesn't work too hard. Gable's debut is strongest when Paris is the focus, whether it's suffering a rude waiter at a corner bistro in the present day or dripping in jewels and furs and being bored by Proust in a cafe at the turn of the century. Some of April's actions late in the book will render her unforgivable to many readers, so if sick parents and infidelity are red flags, pass on this one. Otherwise, vive la Paris apartment! -- Maguire, Susan Copyright 2014 Booklist
The Scene of the Crime Book Club likewise meets on August 18th at 7:00 PM, in the Children’s Room at Buena Vista, and the book under discussion is The Oxford Murders, by Guillermo Martinez.
On a balmy summer's day in Oxford, an old lady who once helped decipher the Enigma Code is killed. After receiving a cryptic anonymous note containing only the address and the symbol of a circle, Arthur Seldom, a leading mathematician, arrives to find the body. Then follow more murders - an elderly man on a life-support machine is found dead with needle marks in this throat; the percussionist of an orchestra at a concert at Blenheim Palace dies before the audience's very eyes - seemingly unconnected except for notes appearing in the math department, for the attention of Seldom. Why is he being targeted as the recipient of these coded messages? All he can conjecture is that it might relate to his latest book, an unexpected bestseller about serial killers and the parallels between investigations into their crimes and certain mathematical theorems. It is left to Seldom and a postgraduate mathematics student to work out the key to the series of symbols before the killer strikes again.