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An American (investigating) in Paris.
What is the Hugo Marston series about?
Coming from Mark Pryor, a British mystery writer and Assistant District Attorney for Travis County, Texas, The Hugo Marston Series is about a former FBI profiler who’s now working as the security chief at the American Embassy in Paris.
Launched in 2012, the series is about Hugo Marston – a book lover – who investigates criminal cases in the capital of France that involve American citizens – sometimes with the help of his friend, semiretired CIA agent Tom Green.
How to read the Hugo Marston Books in Order?
- The Button Man (2014) – PREQUEL! Originally published after The Blood Promise.
- The Bookseller (2012)
- The Crypt Thief (2013)
- The Blood Promise (2014)
- The Reluctant Matador (2015)
- The Paris Librarian (2016)
- The Sorbonne Affair (2017)
- The Book Artist (2019)
- The French Widow (2020)
- The Bookseller – Who is killing the celebrated bouquinistes of Paris? Max—an elderly Paris bookstall owner—is abducted at gunpoint. His friend, Hugo Marston, head of security at the US embassy, looks on helplessly, powerless to do anything to stop the kidnapper. Marston launches a search, enlisting the help of semiretired CIA agent Tom Green. Their investigation reveals that Max was a Holocaust survivor and later became a Nazi hunter. Is his disappearance somehow tied to his grim history, or even to the mysterious old books he sold? On the streets of Paris, tensions are rising as rival drug gangs engage in violent turf wars. Before long, other booksellers start to disappear.
- The Crypt Thief – It’s summer in Paris and two tourists have been murdered in Père Lachaise cemetery in front of Jim Morrison’s grave. The cemetery is locked down and put under surveillance, but the killer returns, flitting in and out like a ghost, and breaks into the crypt of a long-dead Moulin Rouge dancer. In a bizarre twist, he disappears under the cover of night with part of her skeleton. One of the dead tourists is an American and the other is a woman linked to a suspected terrorist; so the US ambassador sends his best man and the embassy’s head of security—Hugo Marston—to help the French police with their investigation.
- The Blood Promise – In post-Revolution Paris, an old man signs a letter in blood, then hides it in a secret compartment in a sailor’s chest. A messenger arrives to transport the chest and its hidden contents, but then the plague strikes, and an untimely death changes history. Two hundred years later, Hugo Marston is safeguarding an unpredictable but popular senator who is in Paris negotiating a France/U.S. dispute. The talks, held at a country chateau, collapse when the senator accuses someone of breaking into his room. Theft becomes the least of Hugo’s concerns when someone discovers a sailor’s chest and the secrets hidden within.
- The Button Man – PREQUEL! Takes place before The Bookseller. Former FBI profiler Hugo Marston has just become head of security at the US Embassy in London. He’s asked to protect a famous movie-star couple, Dayton Harper and Ginny Ferro, who, while filming a movie in rural England, killed a local man in a hit and run. The task turns from routine to disastrous almost immediately. Before Hugo even meets them, he finds out that Ferro has disappeared, and her body has been found hanging from an oak tree in a London cemetery.
- The Reluctant Matador – A nineteen-year-old aspiring model has disappeared in Paris. Her father, Bart Denum, turns to his old friend Hugo Marston for help. Marston makes some inquiries and quickly realizes something is amiss: Bart’s daughter was not a model, but rather a dancer at a seedy strip club. And she headed to Barcelona with some guy she met at the club. With his friend and former CIA agent, Tom Green, Marston heads for Barcelona. The two sleuths identify the man last seen with the girl, break into his house, and encounter a shocking scene
- The Paris Librarian – Hugo Marston’s friend Paul Rogers dies unexpectedly in a locked room at the American Library in Paris. The police conclude that Rogers died of natural causes, but Hugo is certain mischief is afoot. As he pokes around the library, Hugo discovers that rumors are swirling around some recently donated letters from American actress Isabelle Severin. The reason: they may indicate that the actress had aided the Resistance in frequent trips to France toward the end of World War II. Hugo delves deeper into the stacks at the American library and finally realizes that the history of this case isn’t what anyone suspected.
- The Sorbonne Affair – Someone is spying on American author Helen Hancock. While in Paris to conduct research and teach a small class of writers, she discovers a spy camera hidden in her room at the Sorbonne Hotel. She notifies the US Embassy, and Hugo Marston is dispatched to investigate. Almost immediately, the stakes are raised from surveillance to murder when the hotel employee who appears to be responsible for bugging Hancock’s suite is found dead.
- The Book Artist – Hugo Marston accompanies his boss, US Ambassador J. Bradford Taylor, to the first night of an art exhibition in Montmartre, Paris. Hugo is less than happy about going until he finds out that the sculptures on display are made from his favorite medium: books. Soon after the champagne starts to flow and the canapes are served, the night takes a deadly turn when one of the guests is found murdered.
- The French Widow – A young American woman is attacked at a historic Paris chateau and four paintings are stolen the same night, drawing Hugo Marston into a case where everyone seems like a suspect. To solve this mystery Hugo must crack the secrets of the icy and arrogant Lambourd family, who seem more interested in protecting their good name than future victims. Just as Hugo thinks he’s close, some of the paintings mysteriously reappear, at the very same time that one of his suspects goes missing.
If you like Hugo Marston, you may also want to see our Bruno, Chief of Police reading order, or our Maggie Hope reading order. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.