The Prisoner of the Riviera by Janice Law
In postwar France, a gambler finds that surviving his vacation may be a long shot
Peace has come to England and the blackout is over, but the gloom has yet to lift from London. One night, leaving a gambling club where he has run up a considerable tab, the young painter Francis Bacon, accompanied by his lover, sees a man gunned down in the street. They do what they can to stanch the flow of blood, but the Frenchman dies in the hospital. Soon afterward, Bacon receives a strange offer from the club owner: He will erase Bacon’s debts if the painter delivers a package to the dead man’s widow, Madame Renard, on the Riviera. What gambler could resist a trip to Monte Carlo?
After handing over the parcel, Bacon learns that Madame Renard is dead—and the striking young woman who accepted the delivery is an imposter. The Riviera may be lovely, but in 1945, its sun-drenched beaches can be just as dark as the back alleys of London.
"Law does a bangup job of recreating London during the Blitz and portraying real-life artist Francis Bacon as an unlikely sleuth." - Publishers Weekly
"Fires of London draws upon art, poetry, history, mythology, and the classics. The author is a literary architect. She builds meticulously, syllabically brick by brick, painting the backdrop, sketching the characters, scene by scene, so the reader sees the novelistic theme park, not the girders underpinning it." - SleuthSayers
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