Juliet Blackwell is one of my favorite mystery writers. She brings to life unforgettable characters, and writes intriguing plots. She does the same with her novel,The Paris Key, because Blackwell is a remarkable storyteller.
When Genevieve Martin's marriage falls apart, she returns to the city and life that was her refuge when she was fourteen. She once again heads for Paris and her Uncle Dave's locksmith shop in the Village Saint-Paul. Then, her mother had died and her father sent her there for the summer. Now, her Uncle Dave is dead and her cousin has suggested Genevieve take over the locksmith shop and live in the apartment above it. Genevieve has never been happy or content. Now, she sees Paris as the key to her happiness. Instead, she finds the keys to unlock secrets, to unlock a past she never understood.
Like Genevieve, her mother, Angela, once spent time in the apartment in Paris. Through Genevieve's work, the neighbors, and new acquaintances, Genevieve starts to unlock the stories of her family, stories that have remained secrets. Or, as a new Irish friend says, she's hunting ghosts. And, she's definitely haunted by her past. "It was the living who kept the ghosts alive, carrying them around, whether as protective talismans or as prisms through with to view their lives, or as a stone around their necks set to drag them into the depths." Now, Genevieve has to make a decision whether she'll unlock the past, and discover those secrets, or forever live with her ghosts.
Blackwell weaves together the lives of mother and daughter, told through three visits to Paris. It's a complex storyline, and the reader must pay attention to the voices. The two women are sympathetic characters, both dealing with issues. And, it's a story that could only be set in Paris, a city that comes to life through the eyes of women who respond to its history and life. And, it comes to life through the eyes of an author who obviously loves the city.
Juliet Blackwell still brings mystery to her novel. This time, though, it's the mysteries of life. Locks and secrets, ghosts and Paris. They all come together in Juliet Blackwell's beautiful story of two troubled souls, The Paris Key.
Juliet Blackwell's website is www.julietblackwell.net
The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell. New American Library. 2015. ISBN 9780451473691 (paperback), 358p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.