Folly du Jour

Written by Barbara Cleverly
Review by Gwen Sly

Paris, 21 May 1927. Commander Joe Sandilands DSO of Scotland Yard lands at Le Bourget airport seconds before Charles Lindbergh completes his historic transatlantic flight in The Spirit of St Louis. At approximately the same time in the same city, Sir George Jardeine, late of the India Army, is arriving at the music hall to watch the scandalous performance of Josephine Baker. It is here that a murder will be committed of which Sir George will stand accused.

Barbara Cleverly sets the seventh title in her murder mystery series involving Joe Sandilands in the City of Light. but the novel does not capture the atmosphere of the roaring twenties. The dialogue, when it is often supposedly conducted in French, uses many English colloquialisms that are out of period and sit awkwardly on the French tongue.

There are a lot of facts in this book held together by words in short sentences, and names are dropped frequently. It is at times difficult for the reader not to envisage a list of these known facts that must be inserted at every available opportunity in the prose.

A continuing thread from the earlier books can leave new readers slightly bewildered, but the story is nevertheless constructed well, even if the dialogue is underwhelming and lacks tension at times. The author misplaces characters when they become tiresome and introduces new ones. However, with the exception of those who are murdered, there is a predictable happy ending for those remaining.