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Unauthorized Departure: A Mystery [Hardcover]

Maureen O'Brien
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

September 2003 Di John Bright
When DI John Bright leaves England to escape the aftermath of a murder investigation, the last thing he expects is to become embroiled in another one.

Detective Inspector John Bright has never seen much going in holidays abroad, and he's certainly not a man to run away from danger. So he's inclined to ignore the death threats he has been getting ever since he put a vicious London crime boss behind bars. It is only when the threats begin to target his girlfriend, Jude, that Bright decides to take her on an unexpected holiday in France.

Driving through the countryside toward Provence with Jude, Bright is lulled by the gorgeous sunlight, the food, and the wine. They stop over in the small, sleepy town of Neufchâtel, where the tranquility is only slightly marred by the obvious tension between the inn's gloomy owner, Louis, and his wayward fiancée, Mariela.

When a local woman disappears, at first Bright and Jude think nothing of it. Then, they learn the shocking truth: She'd been raped and then brutally murdered. Suddenly, Bright finds himself the prime suspect for the first time in his life. Faced with a police force whose language, rules, and customs he doesn't understand, frustrated by his virtual prisoner status, he realizes that his only chance to clear his name is to help them find the killer.

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From Booklist

John Bright is a hardworking London detective who believes vacations are a waste of time. But when he and his girlfriend, Jude, begin getting death threats, Bright decides that perhaps a quick trip abroad might be manageable after all. He is beginning to enjoy the food, wine, and sunshine in the south of France when a young woman's body turns up at their hotel. Not only that, but the French police are convinced Bright is the killer. His options appear limited: he speaks no French, and the legal system does not consider him innocent until proven guilty. O'Brien has constructed an intricate plot that will keep readers guessing. She deftly portrays the atmosphere of a small French village, which is picturesque but sinister. A nice mix of cozy and procedural. Barbara Bibel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

'O'Brien is a real talent.' Donna Leon 'Captivatingly well-written, full of interesting characters, loaded with suspense, and with a real humdinger of a solution.' Gerald Kaufman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars exciting police procedural Sept. 3 2003
Format:Hardcover
London detective John Bright is receiving threatening e-mails but they don't worry him because he believes they come from disgruntled police officers that are angry he took down some corrupt members of the department. When the e-mails start threatening his girlfriend Jude, he doesn't tell her but keeps a close watch on her. When she suggests they take a vacation together to France, he eventually succumbs to the pressure.
After a few fun-filled days they come to the Neufchatel village in the Jura region of France and book a room at the Hotel Sanglion. At dinner, the proprietor's girlfriend Mariela flirts with John but he ignores her. That night after Jude's asleep he takes a walk around the town and comes back to the room. The next day he is called in for questioning by the local authorities because Mariela is dead and someone saw him roaming the streets at night. The villagers, including the local police officers, would like nothing better than to pin this murder on a foreigner, but John teams up with an out of town official to find the real perpetrator and make him pay for what he did to him and Jude.
This is a very different but exciting police procedural because the crime takes place in France where the laws are much different than in the United States and the United Kingdom. One can't help but like and empathize with the protagonist who acts tough but has some vulnerable spots that make him appear endearing to the audience. This is a very gritty urban noir novel even though it takes place in a small rural village.
Harriet Klausner
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exciting police procedural Sept. 3 2003
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
London detective John Bright is receiving threatening e-mails but they don't worry him because he believes they come from disgruntled police officers that are angry he took down some corrupt members of the department. When the e-mails start threatening his girlfriend Jude, he doesn't tell her but keeps a close watch on her. When she suggests they take a vacation together to France, he eventually succumbs to the pressure.
After a few fun-filled days they come to the Neufchatel village in the Jura region of France and book a room at the Hotel Sanglion. At dinner, the proprietor's girlfriend Mariela flirts with John but he ignores her. That night after Jude's asleep he takes a walk around the town and comes back to the room. The next day he is called in for questioning by the local authorities because Mariela is dead and someone saw him roaming the streets at night. The villagers, including the local police officers, would like nothing better than to pin this murder on a foreigner, but John teams up with an out of town official to find the real perpetrator and make him pay for what he did to him and Jude.
This is a very different but exciting police procedural because the crime takes place in France where the laws are much different than in the United States and the United Kingdom. One can't help but like and empathize with the protagonist who acts tough but has some vulnerable spots that make him appear endearing to the audience. This is a very gritty urban noir novel even though it takes place in a small rural village.
Harriet Klausner
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