A Provençal Mystery

A Provençal Mystery

Ann Elwood / Aug 11, 2020
A Proven al Mystery Why did a nun in a seventeenth century convent flagellate herself until her blood spattered the wall Why did nuns save a child doomed to death in the Holocaust and who wanted her killed Who wants a lo
  • Title: A Provençal Mystery
  • Author: Ann Elwood
  • ISBN: -
  • Page: 217
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Why did a nun in a seventeenth century convent flagellate herself until her blood spattered the wall Why did nuns save a child doomed to death in the Holocaust and who wanted her killed Who wants a lost head shaped reliquary that holds something other than a head And are answers to these questions the key to a terrible modern day death in a quiet archive When American hWhy did a nun in a seventeenth century convent flagellate herself until her blood spattered the wall Why did nuns save a child doomed to death in the Holocaust and who wanted her killed Who wants a lost head shaped reliquary that holds something other than a head And are answers to these questions the key to a terrible modern day death in a quiet archive When American historian Pandora Dory Ryan finds a very rare, uncataloged seventeenth century nun s diary inside a record book at the provincial archives in Avignon, she is thrilled This is historian s treasure But she doesn t know yet that it will send her on a search that brings about changes in how she feels about her profession, the irrational, and love with a sexy Frenchman And it will take her from the archive on a dangerous adventure into the countryside of Provence, which, beautiful as it is, has a long and bloody history The archive s dramatis personae the grumpy archivist, with his paper clip chains the gofer, who smokes Gauloises and gets away with far too much a nun with a sense of humor who harangues high school kids about sex the nun s glamorous sidekick a famous American historian, whose requests for documents are inexplicably denied the eminent professor, destined to fall in love his nervous graduate student And that sexy Frenchman, who isn t who he says he is.
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      Published :2020-05-09T16:45:43+00:00

    About "Ann Elwood"

      • Ann Elwood

        I live in Cardiff by the Sea, California, with six cats, a desert tortoise, seven box turtles, and a German Shepherd, Louis, who looks something like Rin Tin Tin in his soulfulness At night I can hear the ocean when the tides are high When I was nine, my family moved from Ridgewood to Saddle River, New Jersey, a paradise of a town with a woods, a skating pond, a fishing pond, and 700 people who knew who we all were and where we were every minute I had a shepherd dog, Mac, who died a tragic death, shot because someone thought his foaming at the mouth fear of a thunderstorm meant he had rabies.As an adult, I had no dogs until I settled down After college two miserable years at Trenton State Teachers College and two happy ones at Fairleigh Dickinson College , I taught elementary school for a few miserable years, then moved to Camden, New Jersey and landed a job as a typist clerk at the Philadelpha Bulletin When my boss discovered I had difficulty typing up circulation figures with twelve carbons, I was fired and found another job writing copy for a paternalistic insurance company that offered a low salary and delicious free lunch One of the printers had the magical ability to square up a stack of paper into a perfect cube Eventually I moved to a studio apartment on Irving Place in New York City, and, after a few months of writing copy for a textbook company, went on to free lance as a writer of anything anyone would pay me for In 1967, I moved to Los Angeles, where I was advertising manager for a publishing company Then the west coast was a mecca for writers and adventurers Within a couple of years, I visited a Malibu beach house, fell in love long distance with Bob Dylan, met Thomas Pynchon he wouldn t remember it , and saw Hair In 1972, I returned to free lancing, moved south, and found my first dog, Puppy, a mixed breed who looked something like a fox To show you how inappropriate Puppy s name became, I ll tell you this Puppy died at age 17 I wrote articles for Irving Wallace and his son, David Wallichinsky People s Almanac and Book of Lists , and did other wonderful things I won t mention here With Carol Orsag Madigan, I wrote several books A desire to delve deeply into ideas finally drove me to graduate school in 1981 My dissertation focused on an order of 17th and 18th century French nuns so I had to spend a happy year in France doing research During that year, while not in the archives, I drank local wine with fellow historians and traveled the country with Puppy, who had far less trouble than I did communicating with the French.Now, I teach history part time at California State University, San Marcos, spend time with Louis and the other animals, and write the books I have always wanted to write but never had the time for.

    405 Comments

    1. Almost finished but I feel compelled to comment on the poor editing, at least of the ebook edition That, in combination with quite a lot of just poor writing, makes me grit my teeth in annoyance Grrrrrr Now that I ve finished The storyline is engaging, but there are many gaps quantum leaps unsettled details For example, how amazingly convenient that Dory was able to find the rest of the diary during her 1 night stay in the convent and that it had not been found by anyone else in hundreds of year [...]


    2. I am giving this two stars because I thought the plot was engaging and interesting It was a great blend of history and its relationship to events that follow But the writingch Who edited this I was distracted by the poor word choices and the lack of development of important events while unimportant events received the best treatment The author definitely shows promise, but whoever her agents are, she needs some readers and editors that will help her out That said, I finished the book despite the [...]


    3. An interesting premise destroyed by nearly unreadable prose.The premise an American scholar is in Provence researching the history of an order of nuns when she a discovers a seventeenth century diary from the convent and b becomes friends with a convent member who was in the French resistance during World War II Murders occur in the diary and in the current day that links all three time periods Not a bad idea but it s almost impossible to unearth the story due to dropped scenes and prose that wo [...]




    4. An interesting journey into both history and the razor sharp, outspoken mind of an academic who s probably never going to make it in academia, A Provencal Mystery is a delicious read Devotees of intricate mystery plotting may stumble a bit with this one, but readers who long for a charming, idiosyncratic protagonist and reams of fascinating information will love it The perfect gift for that hard to buy for intellectual on your list You know, the one who speaks French to her cat and collects 16th [...]


    5. I believe I might end up classifying this book as cozy lite It is certainly a murder mystery, but there is something unidentifiable to me that is missing The characters all intertwine in strange ways and they get somewhat difficult to follow in the twinings Bringing the centuries old diary into the mix was a nice idea but sort of lost cleverness when the full story was told None of the characters really ended up appealing to me in a I wonder what happened next sort of way I was easily able to mo [...]



    6. Why did nuns in the 17th century flaggerate themselves Why did nuns save a young Jewish girl much later Why did a diary telling of previous centuries turn up at an American academic s study place in Avignon Interesting story as Dory uses this diary to determine who killed a helpful nun In in today s world.


    7. I loved the descriptions of France and found myself oddly attached to Dory s dog Foxy But for the most part the book was underwhelming, the mystery confused, and the writing characterized by info dumps and telling over showing.


    8. A very good mystery.This was a truly engaging mystery that crosses centuries My only problem was that it was written in the 1980 s, so the reader s timeline is going to be off, by about 35 years Still, it is one of the best mysteries I have read in some time.


    9. This was a quick read for me, but I ended up really enjoying it Despite its many faults as others have mentioned the glaring typos, editing and formatting errors, the convenience factors, etc I enjoyed the story for the ride it was.It wasn t a wild oneI d almost call this one a cozy mystery if I didn t dislike that genre so much In this story we pretty much know who the bad guy is, the main characters bumble around playing Clue for a while and since this is France, smoking many a Gauloise and ch [...]


    10. Good writing, an engaging heroine, and an intriguing tale that reaches from bygone centuries to impact the present It s so refreshing that the author does not overwhelm with the story from the past, but lets it unfold as our heroine historian discovers it The diary she finds is laden with the right amount of information to feed the plot, but with the limited view of that individual I appreciated that rather than fill in all the blanks as many novice writers tend to do , the author kept us firmly [...]


    11. Nice diversionI had just finished reading a serious book so I was looking for something easy, and this novel fit the bill It s a fun book, reads quickly The story is a little improbable, but I was okay with that until the last few pages when it really got kind of ridiculous The beginning, where a young Jewish girl is being taken to a convent to hide from the Nazis, is compelling and drew me in but then was only peripheral to the story The narrator, Pandora Dory Ryan, is somewhat likeable but th [...]


    12. Fascinating glimpse into the pastThis is one of those wonderful hybrid historical mysteries that weave in and out of the modern present and the mysterious past in a way that enchants The main protagonist, Dory, is a history professor who isn t so sure she can continue to conform to the rules of academia, and her discovery of a 17th diary of a nun while on sabbatical in France leads her into to a world of ritual, self mortification, and the Devil that feels so real it begins to challenge her rati [...]


    13. Love a good historic novel that flips us back and forth between periods and manages to tie up the present with the past in a neat package of intellectual academics This book presents a slight challenge with the plethora of 20 words when a dime would do it, though I actually enjoyed the preponderance of the French words, including 17th century French idioms Indeed, the look into 17th century monasteries and Catholic nuns practicing flagellation was a rather shocking eye opener Having felt the coo [...]


    14. I liked that this was written from an academic s perspective, with much plot development occurring in and around an archive research room in Avignon, France, with a cast of characters, both French and American variants, that one might encounter in such a place Publishing pressures and concerns about tenure for the main character seemed real, and I enjoyed the emphasis on studying history to piece together answers to the unknown Three different mysteries overlap, the murders of two nuns one in th [...]


    15. This is an excellent, well written book, defying definitive classification It is engaging both as historical fiction and as a mystery tale with just a whiff of romance But, it s greatest value is the author s genuine knowledge of Provence and the culture of that region I can attest to her bona fide familiarity because, while living in Lyon for a number of years, I was often a visitor to Provence, including both Aix and Avignon Yet, Ms Elwood managed to give me information that I did not know, bu [...]


    16. Interesting mystery that takes place in Provence, France Dory Ryan, an American historian has come to this area and a convent to do research for an article on 16th and 17th century French nuns She desperately needs to finish this article to use in her bid for tenure However, she finds than the needed information and statistics While doing her research someone places at her disposal a diary from the convent dating back to the 17th century While trying to dissemble the information, she is thrust [...]


    17. The main character, lacking motivation to complete a project, gets distracted by a several hundred year old nun s diary, then a murder The setting was described wonderfully, but the lack of urgency by the main character left me with a lack of urgency to finish this story I did not feel as if the entries from the old diary were beneficial to the modern day story setting, despite efforts to tie them to each other The ultimate conclusion felt rather abruptly added, as if eight or ten chapters near [...]


    18. I kept looking forward to reading this novel I liked the characters, the setting, and the way the readers learned information through Dory as she learned information I liked how the history of the past was woven with the present without becoming bogged down in monotony I think there was a little too much writer s convenience where things just miraculously fell into place, but maybe with a better editor, that will become polished with time The editor really did a poor job, especially with the dia [...]


    19. Sometimes you just want to lose yourself in an interesting story and this one certainly caught my attention I ve been to Provence, am interested in the history and love mysteries What could be better than a mixture of all three Let s just say Ann Elwood has a lot of potential but needs some serious mentoring and help with technical aspects of writing a good novel I ll try her again, but would only recommend this book to someone very interested in the history of convents in southern France in the [...]


    20. The brief description of this mystery sounded better than the actual book It s an interesting story but the Kindle formatting was poor It needed to separate sections better some times there would be a symbol marking a change of scene or characters but at other times one paragraph took place in 1659 and the next in 1990 with no indication of the change until you read a few sentences and had an ah ha moment.Interesting topic and characters.I d rate it 3.8No sexNo graphic violence


    21. The storyline is interesting, but there are many dead ends and even some mistakes.How come Dory sleeps in the cell where Rose hid the second part of the diary What happened to the hole in the plaster wall By chance , Dory finds the person who hides the reliquary she is looking for at first attempt And so on, and so on.Regarding the mistakes, the French bits are bad, sometimes not even having a meaning unless translated into English It s an honest commute read, but not the best book I ve ever rea [...]


    22. The protagonist is fun and so is the main nun, Agatha However, it s wildly overwritten at times and quite hard to keep track of all the characters since most of them are not well developed I picked this up for a light read and it was that, but not a very satisfying one It has elements of the genre romance, elements of the Dan Brown creepy Catholic pseudo historical novel, elements of academic chick litd at times it makes a bid to be Serious Fiction but doesn t really make it I got impatient for [...]


    23. A pleasurable read past present mystery set in Avignon,France Professor Ryan is researching French nuns for an article and finds, actually is mysteriously provided with, a converse nun s diary from 1658 This diary may be connected to the murder of fellow researcher Sister Agatha Eventually, Prof Ryan links the past and present and reveals the killer 3 star rating because I easily figured out the premise The writing was somewhat disjointed in some areas hard to follow in connection to the previou [...]


    24. This book had potential in its interesting plot and setting, but there were some problems I m not sure if some of the issues are because I was reading the Kindle version, or if the abrupt scene changes were part of the paper book But certainly the one dimensional characters and implausible resolution to the central murder mystery were due to sloppy writing I think the author has potential, and hope she will get some better editing help with her next book.


    25. An enjoyable but often laborious readI actually almost gave up reading this as the uninteresting parts to read were when the main character was reading the diary The characters were a bit dull and the final reveal was a bit underwhelming along with the reasons for the murder I still read it to completion so it s at least average and there was enough there to keep me slightly interested.


    26. Decent plot line and the descriptive prose was very good I would have given it another star had the book been proofread thoroughly and had better editing.Typos, duplicate pronouns and missing conjunctions are annoyances to the reader At times, especially towards the end, events and their settings jumped around from paragraph to paragraph, which I found very confusing.Overall it was a good read but could be a great one with a bit care.


    27. As a reader and writer, library stacks and dusty archives are the places I prefer Elwood s book contains my favorite elements by adding a newly murdered corpse, a diary from the 17th Century, and characters as diverse as a child hidden from the Nazis, a slightly overweight aging hippie with a dog, fun nuns, serious nuns, university academics, and a freezing mistral wind in France Not once did I feel any boredom, just complete captivation from beginning to end.


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