Émile Cinq-Mars Books in Order: How to read John Farrow’s series?

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Montreal Murder Mysteries on ice.

What is the Émile Cinq-Mars series about?

Written by Canadian author John Farrow, the Émile Cinq-Mars series is about a detective described as the Hercule Poirot of Canada.

Mostly set in extreme weather conditions, the investigations of Montreal Detective Émile Cinq-Mars take us from one icy murder to another snowy one, with complex plots and fully realized characters.

John Farrow is the pen name used by writer Trevor Ferguson.

How to read Émile Cinq-Mars Books in Order?

  1. City of Ice (1999)
  2. Ice Lake (2001)
  3. River City (2011)
  4. The Storm Murders (2015)
  5. Seven Days Dead (2016)
  6. Perish the Day (2017)
  7. Ball Park (2019)
  8. Roar Back (2020)
  9. Lady Jail (2020)
  10. A Patient Death (2023)

What is the plot of the Émile Cinq-Mars stories?

For more information about the books in the Émile Cinq-Mars series by John Farrow, you’ll find below the official synopsis for all the books:

City of Ice – Tortured, then murdered, a university student dressed up as Santa Claus is left hanging from a meat hook on Christmas Eve – a gift intended for one particular cop. Detective Emile Cinq-Mars wants the truth.

Ice Lake – A woman discovers a frozen corpse under the ice in her fishing shack-coincidentally, on the same lake where Detective Cinq-Mars is enjoying an afternoon of ice fishing with his partner just a few shacks away.

River City – On the night of the Rocket Richard Riot in 1955, the legendary Cartier Dagger is stolen from Montreal’s Sun Life Building. The same night, a police informer is found murdered in a nearby park with a dagger wound to his heart. Thirteen years later, the case is still unsolved, and a young constable named Émile Cinq-Mars is asked to investigate.

The Storm Murders – On the day after a massive blizzard, two policemen are called to an isolated farmhouse sitting all by itself in the middle of a pristine snow-blanketed field. Inside the lonely abode are two dead people. But there are no tracks in the snow leading either to the house or away. What happened here? Is this a murder/suicide case?

Seven Days Dead – During an epic storm in the Gulf of Maine, retired detective Émile Cinq-Mars and his wife seek shelter as they make their way to the island of Grand Manan for a rare summer vacation from both his police work and her horse stable. With a mounting death toll, a lengthy list of suspects, and a murder in the deep past that somehow affects the present, Cinq-Mars is drawn into uncovering ancient secrets that have led to murder.

Perish the Day – A co-ed is found murdered on campus, her body scarcely touched. The killer paid meticulous attention to the aesthetics of his crime. Coincidentally (or not), a college custodian is also found dead. Coming up against campus secrets, Émile Cinq-Mars must uncover the links between disparate groups quickly before the next victim is selected for an elaborate initiation into murder.

Lady Jail Emile Cinq-Mars Books in Order

Ball Park – Montreal, 1975. Getting into a house is easy for thief Quinn Tanner. The stress comes in getting out clean. On finding her getaway driver dead after her latest heist, she goes underground. For his first case on the day shift, Detective Émile Cinq-Mars is sent to the property that Quinn has just visited, and their paths are set to cross. But has she stolen something more valuable than she realizes?

Roar Back – Montreal, 1978. Newly promoted Sergeant-Detective Émile Cinq-Mars attends the scene of seventeen break-ins at an apartment complex. Nothing more than stolen toasters. Cinq-Mars suspects that the burglaries are a trial run for a bigger heist . . . until he discovers a body pinned to a wall with a machete in one apartment.

Lady Jail – Quebec, 1994. Fraud artist Abigail, the newest arrival at the Joliette Institution for Women, is struggling to adjust to the prison’s communal quarters. Her fellow inmates only give out the bare bones of their crimes, and it’s quite the roll call. Doi took a hatchet to her own daughter. Malka poisoned her husband. And that’s just for starters. Abigail keeps her head down, does her best to make friends with the band of killers, and tries to survive.

A Patient Death – Retired from the Montreal Police Service, Émile Cinq-Mars is tapped by a State Trooper to look into deaths being booked as “ natural causes.” Should they perhaps be viewed differently, as suspicious? Cinq-Mars’ foray draws him into a mysterious clique of elderly women, working women, and a teenage girl on crutches, which leads to a harrowing ordeal when he’s struck by an assassin’s bullet. Will death be sufficiently patient with him so that from his hospital bed he can resolve how and why the elderly on one side of a state line die quickly and mysteriously while on the other their deaths are slow and agonizing?

What should you read if you like the Émile Cinq-Mars novels?

If you like reading John Farrow’s Émile Cinq-Mars stories, you may be interested in Lynda La Plante’s Jane Tennison books, Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series.

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