Murder in Geneva
by D-L Nelson
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432826161
Date: 19 October 2012
Murder in Geneva is the third Third-Culture Kid mystery featuring Annie Young, a free-lance writer and translator. She visits Geneva, once her home, to assist old friends in preparing a glossy catalog of an upcoming art auction. When a nasty professor of art history turns up dead, suspicion falls on her friend, his former mistress.
This alternates between two different, but related stories. One takes place in 16th century Geneva during the time of John Calvin. Elizabeth, a young woman and a talented artist, lives with her paternal uncle who manages her inheritance and keeps the rents from the farm. She is treated like a servant. When she falls in love with young man, her uncle refuses to consider his proposal. Then, she becomes pregnant.
In the contemporary story, Annie Young learns of her friend's pregnancy and who the father was. Her friend, Mireille, is determined to have the child and to finish her thesis. She found some drawings she thinks are 16th century and may be valuable. After showing them to the professor, he told her they were worthless, but he kept two of the sketches.
No one liked the professor. He had taken credit for studentsí work, bullied them, lied about the value of various artworks, mistreated his wife, and his mistress.
Annie is an astute observer and knows two of the people suspected of the murder. Her lover, Police Chief Roger Perret, wrangles a short-term appointment to Geneva to be near Annie and ends working on the murder case. He finds the officer in charge is narrow-minded and fails to follow the clues.
An accomplished writer, Nelson holds the reader's interest. While she doesn't place Annie in extreme jeopardy, she provides insights into fascinating people and especially into strong women. The tragic story of Elizabeth shows a community at its worst although a few members reveal that even among extremists, good people exist.