This book starts with a cliffhanger prologue: an untimely death at the home of Mrs. Blaine and Miss Nuttel (the pair generally known as “the Nuts” in the village). The book, then, goes back two weeks to catch us up. So at the end of Chapter One, we are all attention to find out just what happened, and to whom.
Actually, there is quite a lot going on. Plummergen is abuzz with activity, preparing for a competition with archrival Murrystone , in a charity fundraiser bulldozer race at the entrance of the Chunnel, under construction. Also, the Nuts have a visitor, Mrs. Blaine’s cousin Ada. Given the book’s title, one might guess that there is a French connection: the village schoolchildren are to go on a field trip to visit historic locations in France, and Miss Seeton is asked to accompany the students and guide them in their pursuit of knowledge. Miss Seeton, herself, is hoping that the trip can include the gardens featured in Monet’s work.
Miss Seeton surely has good luck in meeting the noble and royal (remember her chance meeting with Her Majesty at a Palace garden party). Once in France, while trying to view and sketch the Money gardens, Emily Seeton encounters the charming Comte de Balivernes, who owns the historic site. The Comte is charmed, and offers Miss S. her own custom tour of his beautiful estate.
This story has it all: a murder mystery, village happenings and the ever-active gossip mill, and also more than a slight share of romance. Young Nigel Colveden, charmed in several previous books by eligible young ladies, meets one more, the lovely Louise, daughter of the Comte. More surprisingly, romance blooms for Miss Seeton. This is a varied and entertaining tale.
My thanks to author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing an advance copy to read and review.