Reviews and Praise

Booklist Calls The Books of the Dead “Charming”

Booklist gave The Books of the Dead a “charming” review!

“Curiosity about a condom machine causes amateur sleuth Rachel Levis to enter the men’s room in a Paris café and come upon a man’s body in a toilet stall. Guy Laurent, the victim, was a librarian in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room of the Bibliothèque Nationale. Rachel—who, with best friend and fellow sleuth Magda Stevens, previously solved a murder—is happy to agree to police captain Boussicault’s request that she volunteer at the library to learn what she can about the victim’s colleagues. She quickly realizes that Laurent was universally loathed by those with whom he worked. While Magda tends to her online business, Rachel becomes immersed in what she thinks of as her murder. When a second murder takes place, these two American sleuths in Paris take actions that result in their being pulled off the police case and undertaking their own investigation. This charming follow-up to Bernhard’s debut, Death in Paris (2018), leaves Rachel and Magda debating whose name will come first in their pending business, for which they have their motto: ‘We are shameless in the service of detection.'” – Michele Leber

The Library Journal praises The Books of the Dead

The Books of the Dead.

“Curiosity gets the best of American expat Rachel Levis when she steps into a Paris restroom and finds a dead body. Guy Laurent, who worked in the rare books room at the Bibliothèque Nationale, was strangled; most of his coworkers had a reason to dislike him, but none will talk to Capitaine Boussicault. So Boussicault asks Rachel to volunteer at the library, blend in, and investigate, with a trusted security guard nearby. Rachel learns one colleague is a jilted lover and another is a writer betrayed. And did Guy want the department head’s job? When it’s discovered that pages are being torn out and stolen from irreplaceable library books, Rachel wonders if blackmail or briberty was on the table. Then the body count increases. Rachel becomes an active investigator working with police, but Boussicault removes her from the investigation for misunderstanding her assignment, and Rachel and her friend Magda charge into an investigation of their own. VERDICT Bernhard’s second series mystery (after Death in Paris) is another charming amateur investigator tale. For readers for Bernhard’s previous novel and fans of Mary Kay Andrews or Laura Childs.” —Michelle Gilbert Doshi, Lake Forest Lib., IL

Who Loves The Books of the Dead? Publisher’s Weekly Loves The Books of the Dead!!

Publisher’s Weekly has given The Books of the Dead a really lovely review. I’m so pleased and grateful!

“On a hot summer afternoon, witty and erudite poet–cum–banker’s wife Rachel Levis, the heroine of Bernhard’s spirited sequel to 2018’s Death in Paris, stops at a Paris bar looking for a refreshing spritz. Instead, she finds a body in the restroom. This leaves her with the perplexing problem of whom to call first: her husband, best friend, or ‘Capitaine Boussicault, the policeman she knew from the last time she’d encountered a murder.’ The victim turns out to be a much-despised librarian in the rare books and manuscripts reading room of the Bibliothèque Nationale. Boussicault asks Rachel to go undercover at the library in order to find potential suspects and motives. She soon stumbles on another series of crimes, involving the theft of illustrations from antiquarian publications. Are the murder and the thefts connected, and if so, how? Bernhard keeps the reader guessing right up to the surprising finale. This mystery has it all: authentic Parisian local color, fully realized characters, amusing dialogue, and a satisfyingly complex plot.” Publisher’s Weekly

Fantastic Kirkus Reviews Review for The Books of the Dead !!!

Kirkus Reviews gave The Books of the Dead a terrific review:

“A charming expat and her Parisian chum help the police solve a string of murders in the Bibliotheque Nationale.Who would murder a librarian and stuff his body into a stall in a nondescript bistro in the not terribly swank 13th Arrondisement? Capitaine Denis Boussicault can’t figure it out, so he agrees to let amateur sleuth Rachel Levis go undercover as a temporary replacement for Guy Laurent, the victim, who worked in the Bibliotheque Nationale’s reading room. He has ample reason to think Rachel is up to the task: Her candor and charm encourage people to confide in her, she demonstrated a knack for detection in the murder of her former lover Edgar Bowen (Death in Paris, 2018), and, most important, she was the one who discovered Laurent’s body in the toilettes at Chez Poule, where she had gone to investigate whether the condom machines in French men’s rooms are the same as in women’s rooms. Rachel unearths plenty of dirt on Laurent, who tormented his co-workers, annoyed patrons, and seems to have had an interesting side hustle in blackmail. As Rachel helps interview the eccentric library staff and the even nutsier patrons, more corpses appear. The interplay between Boussicault and Rachel, who may overestimate the power conferred by her status as police consultant and its effect on her relationship with Magda Stevens, the crime-fighting partner who helped her crack the Bowen case, drive the narrative as much as the puzzle. A worthy encore to Bernhard’s Death in Paris series debut.”

Thank you, Kirkus!!!

The Books of the Dead: Great First Reviews on GoodReads!

Reviewers on GoodReads are being very kind to The Books of the Dead: “Kept me guessing till the end”; “Addictive, Unputdownable”: “An intriguing and entertaining package.” You can pre-order the book here, or check out more reviews here.

Publisher’s Weekly review of Death in Paris

“Bernhard’s delightful debut and series launch, an often witty comedy of manners, gives a view of the highs and lows of contemporary Parisian society through the eyes of Rachel Levis, an American who has lived in the city for some 20 years and is now married to a successful banker. Rachel is stunned one morning to open the newspaper and discover that financier Edgar Bowen has died while dining alone at his home—drowned in his vichyssoise after suffering an apparent heart attack. Edgar was her lover in her early days in France; “he had helped her to stop being young and start being interesting—and, even more important, to start being interested.” When, at his funeral, she hears that a bottle of rosé was on the table when he died, she’s sure that he must have been murdered: “Edgar hated rosé. He said it was a good white spoiled.” With her friend Magda by her side, she decides to investigate his death. Bernhard fills the novel with entertaining characters, conjures up an authentic Paris, and gives the reader intelligent, if frothy, fun.”