The Sorbonne Affair (Hugo Marston)
by Mark Pryor
Cover Artist: Shutterstock
Review by Mel Jacob
Seventh Street Books Trade Paperback / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9781633882614
Date: 22 August 2017 List Price $15.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Sorbonne Affair is the seventh Hugo Marston mystery by Mark Pryor. When Hugo Marston attempts to help a distraught romance novelist, he finds his own life endangered in his latest adventure.
At the funeral of a noted actress, Hugo Marston, the security chief for the U.S. Embassy, is approached by American romance novelist Helen Hancock. She appears inebriated but insists she needs Hugo's advice. Later, she leaves a message saying she thinks someone is spying on her.
Marston has helped American visitors in the past. He agrees to check out Ms. Hancock's complaint. When he investigates her room, he locates a surveillance camera. The questions are who placed it there and why. Helen is convinced someone wants to steal her latest work-in progress.
Then one of the bellhops is found dead in the stairway. When the police recover the young man's computer, they find pictures of Helen, so they assume he was the spy. None of his roommates claim any knowledge of his activities, but Marston suspects one knows more than he has so far revealed. Marston works closely with the Paris police to uncover the killer.
Meanwhile, his closest friend, Tom Green, a former FBI colleague, tells him an old enemy from Texas is out of prison and looking to avenge himself on both of them. During a botched bank robbery attempt, a shooting of innocents occurred that has haunted them both for years. Eventually, the mastermind went to prison, and Tom now believes the man is in Europe to kill them.
As Marston follows up possible leads on the Hancock case, an x-rated tape of the novelist and a student she was tutoring appears on the media. Hancock is mortified and protests her innocence. Marston switches his attention to the three remaining would-be writers Helen was coaching.
As in the previous Hugo Marston novels, the Paris setting adds flavor to the story. Continuing characters such Green, Lieutenant Lerens (once a man, now a woman), and Claudia, Marston's love, are familiar friends. Some might argue that the Texas bank robbery is an unnecessary distraction, however, it adds to Marston's character and his relationship with Green.
Most astute readers will figure out the identity of the killer before the denouement. Fans will look forward to the next Marston adventure. Pryor is also the author of the grittier Hollow Man series.