The French for Murder by Verity Bright
Book Review

book cover image
Publication Date: May 30, 2022
Publisher: Bookouture
Series: A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #10
Format: ebook, print and audio
Genre: Historical Fiction/Cosy Mystery


A grand villa, croissants for breakfast and a dead body in the wine cellar… Lady Swift can’t seem to take a vacation from murder!

Summer 1923. Lady Eleanor Swift is finally persuaded by her butler, Clifford, to take a villa in the south of France for the season. She plans to do what a glamorous lady abroad should: long lunches on the balcony followed by lazy afternoons lounging by the pool. Even Gladstone the bulldog is looking forward to a daily paddle in the ocean.

But when Clifford examines the wine cellar, he discovers there are no decent reds but there is a very dead body. The victim is famous American movie star Rex Armstrong. Poor Rex seems to have been stabbed with a sword from the film set. So how did he end up in Eleanor’s villa?

Before Eleanor even has time to change out of her travelling suit, her beloved butler is arrested for the crime. At sea without her right-hand man, Eleanor must gather her wits if she’s to outsmart a murderer and save Clifford.

Attending a glitzy party at the luxurious Hotel Azure with the film’s cast and crew so she can question her main suspects, Eleanor overhears the director having a most unsettling telephone call that throws all her theories out of the water. Can Eleanor unmask the true killer before her time abroad is cut murderously short?

A gripping historical murder mystery full of charm and intrigue, set in the beautiful French Riviera. Fans of Agatha Christie, T E Kinsey and Lee Strauss will adore The French for Murder.

My Thoughts

Unlike the previous novels, there is no preamble. From the very first page, delivered by the very first line, we are made aware of a dead body in the cellar, discovered by Clifford between "the champagnes and the dessert wines" while taking that all important wine inventory, even before any suitcases are unpacked. At first, Ellie doesn't believe him. After all, she is on holiday to escape that sort of unpleasantness but, unfortunately, it's true. Once again, Ellie is caught up in a murder investigation, only this time Clifford is hauled off to goal as the prime suspect.

I kept waiting for Chief Inspector Hugh Seldon to put in an appearance, wondering how it would be contrived. Sadly, he's absent from this one, although he did have a cameo role, albeit at the end of a telephone line. Discovering that Ellie was investigating another murder while on holiday will cause some ructions when she returns home.

While Hugh's absence was disappointing, there is a plethora of other characters to cause a distraction: an American film company, replete with backers, Hollywood stars and crews; extras, musicians and artists; not to mention the ambitious mayor Alonse Gaston Bertrand Lessard and Inspector Jacques Jean-Baptiste Damboise, who more or less blackmail Ellie into helping them with the case.

A chance meeting with wealthy Americans, Floyd and Kitty Williams, results in an invitation to one of their famous parties and Ellie becoming a reluctant member of their social set. This proves useful, but also dangerous, as Ellie and Clifford get closer to unmasking the murderer.

In this instalment we learn more of Clifford's past and his relationship with Ellie's uncle, that Ellie's investigative skills are much better than her driving, even when she remembers to stay on the right side of the road, and although Clifford possesses a sense of humour, he is not amused when called “Starchy Archie” but it made me giggle.

Again, I've been thoroughly entertained, bamboozled by lots of red herrings, amused by the antics of Gladstone, the bulldog, and left looking forward to Ellie and Clifford's next murder case.

Meet the Author

Verity Bright is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing partnership that has spanned a quarter of a century. Starting out writing high-end travel articles and books, they published everything from self-improvement to humour, before embarking on their first historical mystery. They are the authors of the fabulous Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery series, set in the 1920s.

Connect with Verity: Twitter

Sign up to be the first to hear about new releases from Verity Bright here:

Where to Purchase


You can sign up for all the best Bookouture deals you'll love at:

Blog Tour Schedule


  1. This sounds fun -- and I love the cover!

    1. It's a great series and all the covers are great too!

  2. Love the cover on this one.

    Thanks for sharing it with the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge!

    1. I love that Gladstone the bulldog is featured!