Lost in Paris

A Novel

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Pub Date Apr 04 2023 | Archive Date Apr 04 2023

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PARIS, 1922: Zoe Barlow knows the pain of loss. By the age of eighteen, she'd already lost her father to suicide, and her reputation to an ill-fated love affair—not to mention other losses, too devastating for words. Exiled from her home and her beloved younger sister by their stepmother, she was unceremoniously dumped in Paris without a friend to help her find her way.

 Four years later, Zoe has forged a new life as a painter amidst fellow artists, expats, and revolutionary thinkers struggling to make sense of the world in the aftermath of war. She's adopted this Lost Generation as her new family, so when her dear friend Hadley Hemingway loses a valise containing all of her husband Ernest's writings, Zoe happily volunteers to track it down. But her search for the bag keeps leading to murder victims, and Zoe must again face hard losses—this time among her adopted tribe. If she persists in her reckless quest to find the killer, the next life lost may be her own.

 Pulsing with the glamour and excitement of the Jazz Age, Lost in Paris explores a young woman's journey to redeem herself from the heartaches of her past, while finding her way forward in tumultuous, unprecedented times.


PARIS, 1922: Zoe Barlow knows the pain of loss. By the age of eighteen, she'd already lost her father to suicide, and her reputation to an ill-fated love affair—not to...

Advance Praise

“Lovers of post-WWI Paris will have fun.”
Publishers Weekly 

“Perfectly frothy fun, supported by a wealth of tasty historical tidbits.”

“Lovers of post-WWI Paris will have fun.”
Publishers Weekly 

“Perfectly frothy fun, supported by a wealth of tasty historical tidbits.”

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781728269900
PRICE $16.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 76 members

Featured Reviews

If you're a fan of historical fiction, you'll enjoy Betty Webb's latest novel, Lost in Paris. If you're a fan of The Da Vinci Code and/or The Gilded Age, you'll love Lost in Paris. This book mixes cozy mystery and historical fiction with abandon, while leaving room for some romance and strong female friendships. You are transported to the 1920s where you follow Alabama debutante Zoe Barlow as she embarks on a new life in Paris after being exiled for disgracing her family. Despite her difficult past, Zoe has formed a new family among fellow expats and artists, including Hadley and Ernest Hemingway, Kiki de Montparnasse, and many more recognizable names.

When a valise holding all of Ernest's manuscripts goes lost, Zoe offers to assist Hadley in locating it. Unfortunately, the valise leads to two murders: the railway porter who stole the bag and a young woman shot to death on the outskirts of a tiny settlement. With far more at stake than the lost manuscripts, Zoe is willing to put her life on the line to discover who among her adopted family is a murderer.

Webb writes lyrically and with clarity, transporting us to 1920s Paris, complete with its fashion and culture. The characters are well-drawn and realistic, and the plot is fast-paced and audacious. I was particularly taken with the depiction of racial relationships and class differences, which is rarely addressed in historical fiction.

However, I found that some characters were underdeveloped, which was the novel's main flaw for me despite its wonderful world building and suspenseful turns. How can you write about someone as ''great'' as Ernest Hemingway and not expand on his character beyond a few points?

Note for the publisher/editor: I noticed a few mistakes in the French spellings throughout the book. For example, ''Sainte-Germaine des Prés'' is written numerous times (proper spelling is Saint-Germain-des-Prés), the novel refers to Kiki Du Montparnasse (proper spelling is Kiki de Montparnasse). I am not sure if this is intentional, but as a francophone reader, this was disorienting.

Review to be posted to Instagram closer to publication date.

Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Zoe Barlow is an artist in Paris during the 20's. Her friends, the Hemingways, have lost a valuable valise with the undiscovered Ernest's manuscripts. But in her efforts to find it, she comes across a murder of two Russians. One is reported to be Anastasia herself! But the further she digs, the more her friends meet untimely deaths.

Woven into the story is Zoe's backstory. And what a backstory it is. Growing up on a plantation in Mississippi, she experienced the worst in racism. Her marriage and pregnancy only added to her woes. Also woven into the novel is the story of the invalid wife of her current lover.

Well written, and with a nice twist for the ending, I highly recommend this wonderful period mystery.

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Paris, 1922: Hadley, wife to the unknown then Ernest Hemingway, loses all of jis manuscripts. Well, not exactly 'loses'; 'get stolen' is more of an accurate word. Cue Zoe Barlow, painter and friend of Hadley's, goes out of her way to find this valise containing said manuscripts. But what happens when there is a double murder and Zoe's life and a lot of her loved ones are put into danger?

This book has an abundance of great elements. First of all, the setting: Paris during the 20s. The arts, the fashion, imagining the perfume of the French, the smell of delicacies. But alos, its darker side: the poverty, the malnourishment, the criminality, the suffragettes fighting for their own rights and yet being imprisoned for wanting the most given. Apart from that, Ms. Webb let us in on the perspective of the time, historical information, which is so important for historical fiction book, and for that I applaud her.

Character-wise: amazing really. I absolutely loved Zoe. She was a young girl, who was kicked out of her home for not doing anything hurtful, and she is a brilliant artist. She is caring to her friends, and not only to them, she is fiercely loyal to them. She's also street-smart, and can be quite calculating, given that she is also an experienced poker player. But, she also has skeletons in her closet. She is not perfect; she makes mistakes; she is impulsive; she is emotional. At the end of the day, thos characteristics of hers made me to have her as a friend. Another character I adored is Avak. This pure soul of a taxi driver, eager to always help Zoe, having the role of a friendly uncle in her life. And what can I say about dear Jewell, such a sweet individual with a development that I didn't expect. Lastly, I didn' like Henri at all, mostly because of his behaviour to his wive, and how he was incompetent to his work, even though he cared about Zoe.

The plot came naturally. It was well-thought, the progress wasn't unnatural, and the plot-twists that the book had actually helped to the plot and not just to woe the reader. And the ending was... Unexpected, but well-deserved.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review! This book is out on April 4th 2023!

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In December, 1922, Hadley Hemingway left a valise filled with Ernest's manuscripts on a train, and someone stole it. Although Alabama-born artist Zoe Barlow dislikes Ernest, Hadley is a friend, so Zoe attempts to find the case. She asks enough questions at the train station to track the thief to a village, and hires an Armenian driver to take her there. Although she finds the shack with two Russians in it, they've been shot dead, and some of Hemingway's pages are burning in the fireplace. After answering questions from Inspector Henri Challiot, Zoe becomes even more popular with her inquisitive friends in the artist community. Now, she's determined to find the rest of Hemingway's papers, but also wants to find a killer. When several of Zoe's friends and killed, and she finds the bodies, Challiot warns her that she's become a target.

The author of the Lena Jones mysteries begins a historical mystery series featuring members of the Lost Generation in post-WWI Paris. The compelling story, filled with actual artists, models and writers, will appeal to readers who enjoy fact-based mysteries involving history, racism and conditions in post-war Paris.

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1920s, Paris, murder-investigation, theft, ex-pat, famous-persons, mystery, historical-novel, historical-places-events, historical-research, historical-setting, history-and-culture, amateur-sleuth, romantic****

The tale is packed with luminaries of the time after The War To End All Wars. A young American artist is sent to Paris to further her art but becomes embroiled in theft and murder among the noted artists and writers of the day. A very interesting and detailed read.
I requested and received an EARC from Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley. Thank you

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This very visual look at 1920’s Paris brought this period to life with the detailed descriptions of the settings, fashion, and culture. It starts when Zoe finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation after trying to help her friend Hadley Hemingway find a missing valise. Her suspicions lean to one of her friends as the killer. Zoe was an interesting character. She’s a talented artist, a slick poker player, and benevolent to the lower class. Her impulsiveness lands her in danger over and over again. I like how the author portrayed Paris so accurately especially with its rich versus poor culture.

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