Coming from M.L. Longworth, a Canadian author who lived in France, the Verlaque and Bonnet book series is about murder in the South of France.
Leading the investigations are Antoine Verlaque, the chief magistrate of Aix, and his on-again-off-again girlfriend, law professor Marine Bonnet, who are living in Aix-en-Provence, France–It’s also called the Murder in Provence series, FYI.
How to read the Verlaque and Bonnet Series in Order?
Every book in the Provencal Mysteries works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- Death at the Chateau Bremont – When local nobleman Étienne de Bremont falls to his death from the family château, it sets the historic town of Aix-en-Provence abuzz with rumors. Antoine Verlaque, the charming chief magistrate of Aix, suspects foul play, and when he discovers that Bremont had been a close friend of Marine Bonnet, his on-again off-again girlfriend, Verlaque must turn to her for help.
- Murder in the Rue Dumas – When Dr. Georges Moutte is found mudrered, investigator Antoine Verlaque is stumped. Certainly the director of theology at the Université d’Aix had his enemies. But Verlaque isn’t convinced that anyone in the tiny community of academics is capable of murder. Aided by his on-again, off-again girlfriend, law professor Marine Bonnet, Berlaque must turn Provence upside down, uncovering a world far more complicated than university politics, to find the killer before it’s too late.
- Death in the Vines – Winery owner Olivier Bonnard is devastated when he discovers that a priceless cache of rare vintages has been stolen from his private cellar. Soon after, Monsieur Gilles d’Arras reports another mysterious disappearance: his wife, Pauline. As the mistral arrives to temper the region’s late-summer heat, Commissioner Paulik receives an urgent call from Bonnard: he’s just found Pauline d’Arras-dead in his vineyard. Verlaque and Bonnet are once again investigating.
- Murder on the Île Sordou – On-again couple Antoine Verlaque and Marine Bonnet are hoping for a relaxing holiday at the Locanda Sordou, but someone has other plans. Hoteliers Maxime and Catherine Le Bon have spent their life savings restoring the hotel, which lies in an archipelago of sun-soaked islands off the coast of Marseille. To celebrate the grand opening, a group of privileged guests joins Verlaque and Bonnet. But the murder of one of the guests casts a shadow over everyone’s vacation.
- The Mystery of the Lost Cezanne – A friend in his cigar club asks Antoine Verlaque to visit René Rouquet, a retired postal worker who has found a rolled-up canvas in his apartment. As the apartment once belonged to Paul Cézanne, Rouquet is convinced he’s discovered a treasure. But when Antoine arrives at the apartment, he finds René dead, the canvas missing, and a mysterious art history professor standing over the body.
- The Curse of La Fontaine – Chef Sigisbert “Bear” Valets has just opened his own restaurant, La Fontaine, in Aix-en-Provence. It’s an immediate success-glowing reviews and a loyal clientele, including Verlaque and Bonnet. But when he decides to extend his restaurant’s seating into a historic courtyard, some very powerful neighbors are against him. Valets charges on, even after a skeleton is found buried next to the courtyard’s ancient fountain. But when Valets begins receiving threatening letters, he becomes convinced that his life is in danger.
- The Secrets of the Bastide Blanche – One hot summer night, Aix-en-Provence is aflutter with news that controversial author Valère Barbier, who once shared dinners with French presidents and all-night drinking bouts with rock stars, has moved into La Bastide Blanche, a grand house left empty for decades. But Valère’s ideas of a peaceful retirement are quickly dashed. While Antoine Verlaque investigates Valère’s sordid history, his wife and partner, Marine Bonnet, questions why the estate was abandoned in the first place.
- A Noël Killing – Antoine Verlaque doesn’t like Christmas. The decorations appear in the shops far too early, festive tourists swarm the streets, and his beloved Cours Mirabeau is lined with chalets selling what he regards as tacky trinkets. But his wife and partner Marine Bonnet is determined to make this a Christmas they can both enjoy. Just as the holiday cheer is in full swing, a man is poisoned, sending the community into a tailspin.
- The Vanishing Museum on the Rue Mistral – Something strange has happened at the unassuming Musée de Quentin-Savary in Aix-en-Provence. When the director, Monsieur Achille Formentin, walks in one beautiful April morning, he is shocked to find the whole museum emptied of its contents–only a bench, the reception desk, and a lowly fern remain. Distressed, he calls the local police, and Aix’s examining magistrate Antoine Verlaque sets out to discover the thief’s identity.
- Disaster at the Vendome Theater – When Jean-Marc Sauvet, successful lawyer and the best friend of Aix-en-Provence’s examining magistrate Antoine Verlaque, accepted a small role in a local theater’s summer production of Marcel Pagnol’s Cigalon, he had no idea that the lead actress would be played by the great Liliane Poncet. But Jean-Marc’s excitement about rubbing elbows with one of France’s legendary film stars is quickly extinguished. The lead actor, Gauthier Lesage, is rude and unenthusiastic, and nobody understands how he got the part. Chaos reigns backstage thanks to the absentminded theater director. And everyone seems to be harboring a secret. When one of the actors goes missing for good, it’s up to the soon-to-be-a-father Verlaque and his police commissioner, Bruno Paulik, to untangle the threads of a mystery that seems to get more complicated every day…
If you like Verlaque and Bonnet/Murder in Provence reading order, you may also want to take a look at our guide to Bruno, Chief of Police, or the Guido Brunetti series. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.