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Death in Provence: A Novel (Penelope Kite #1) (Hardcover)

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This is book number 1 in the Penelope Kite series.

Staff Reviews

A neat and tidy mystery set in the south of France with a hugely likable main character, Penelope. Serena Kent’s writing style has a musical quality with just the right amount of description that placed me in the story. I felt the heat of the sun and smelled the ripening fruits, the bakery, the rose’—yum! I was well and truly there. And of course, Penelope’s humor helping her through the bumpy parts of life is something we can all relate to. All in all, so much fun to read!

— Susan


The first entry in a clever, lighthearted mystery series set in modern Provence—a delightful blend of Agatha Christie and Peter Mayle—featuring the irrepressible Penelope Kite, a young-at-heart divorcee with a knack for stumbling across dead bodies.

It’s love at first sight when Penelope Kite sees Le Chant d’Eau—The Song of Water—the stone farmhouse tucked high in the hills above the Luberon valley, complete with a garden, swimming pool, and sweeping mountain vistas. For years, Penelope put her unfaithful ex-husband and her ungrateful stepchildren first. Since taking early retirement from her job in forensics at the Home Office in England, she’s been an unpaid babysitter and chauffeur for her grandchildren. Now, she’s going to start living for herself. Though her dream house needs major renovations, Penelope impulsively buys the property and moves to St. Merlot.

But Penelope’s daydreams of an adventurous life in Provence didn’t include finding a corpse floating face down in her swimming pool. The discovery of the dead man plunges her headlong into a Provençal stew of intrigue and lingering resentments simmering beneath the deceptively sunny village. Having worked in the forensics office, Penelope knows a thing or two about murder investigations. To find answers, she must carefully navigate between her seemingly ubiquitous, supercilious (and enviably chic) estate agent, the disdainful chief of police, and the devilishly handsome mayor—even as she finds herself tempted by all the delicacies the region has to offer. Thank goodness her old friend Frankie is just a flight away . . . and that Penelope is not quite as naïve as her new neighbors in St. Merlot believe.

Set against the exquisite backdrop of Provence, steeped in history, atmosphere, and secrets, Death in Provence introduces an irresistible heroine and a delightful new mystery series.

About the Author

Serena Kent is the nom de plume of Deborah Lawrenson and her husband Robert Rees. They met at Cambridge University and pursued completely different careers, she in journalism and fiction; he in banking and music. They live in a house full of books in England, and an old hamlet in Provence which is also in dire need of more bookshelves.

Praise For…

“Riffing on Peter Mayle and his year in Provence—as well as Alexander McCall Smith and his Ladies’ Detective Agency—this is the first in a breezy mystery series set among the vineyards and olive groves of the Luberon.”
National Geographic

“Peter Mayle fans will enjoy this first novel and series opener.”
Publishers Weekly

“Penelope sparkles, turning what could have been a lightweight Shirley Temple into champagne. Although Kent makes no promises, updates on her heroine’s further adventures would be most welcome. “

“Charming.... While the quirky characters are enjoyable, it’s the details of the details of Provençal life that will attract armchair travelers, fans of Peter Mayle.”
Library Journal

“As scenic murders go, it’s hard to beat the dead man floating in the swimming pool of Le Chant d’Eau, a stone farmhouse hilltop-high in Death in Provence…. Who could resist a vacation in Provence?”
New York Times Book Review

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062869852
ISBN-10: 006286985X
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: February 19th, 2019
Pages: 368
Language: English
Series: Penelope Kite