Murder at the Louvre (Museum Mysteries, 10)

Written by Jim Eldridge
Review by Douglas Kemp

The tenth in the Museum Detectives series sees the married pair of private sleuths Daniel and Abigail Wilson in Paris. It is July 1899, and on a visit to Professor Flamand, Egyptologist and archaeologist in the Louvre, Abigail discovers his stabbed corpse in his office and is then promptly incarcerated and charged with his murder. The grievous misunderstanding is soon cleared up, and the Louvre management asks the detectives to solve the crime, in conjunction with the regular police force in Paris.  The Dreyfus scandal becomes an element of the investigation, complicating matters further for the two English detectives and bringing them into mortal danger.  As the French speaker of the couple, Abigail takes the initiative more in this investigation, and even between the two of them, the dynamic of their relationship seems to be changing, so that she is less the junior partner in the sleuthing enterprise with her hitherto more experienced husband.

Although the historical context is mostly sound, well-researched and presented, there are some errors in the book – a few textual, such as a “granite sarcophagus made of granite” and chunks of history thrown at the reader.  One of the passages of historical explication claims that in the late 18th century Napoleon seemingly wished to gain control of the Suez Canal which, given that it was only opened in 1869, is a little surprising, to say the least. While he expressed an interest in the possibility of constructing such a route, that was as far as it went.  Nonetheless, the series continues to be engaging reading, capably plotted and highly enjoyable.