The Man Who Didn't Burn
A Juge Lombard Mystery, Book 1
by Ian Moore
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Pub Date 12 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 22 Sep 2023
A killer. A saint. A town full of whispers.
When English expat Graham Singleterry is brutally murdered, his charred corpse left on a Loire Valley hillside, the police turn to juge d’instruction Matthieu Lombard to find the perpetrator.
Instead, Lombard discovers a wealth of secrets, grudges and feuds in the idyllic town of Saint-Genèse-sur-Loire. He begins to suspect that the remaining members of the Comité des Fêtes know more about Singleterry’s death than they are letting on.
But rather than towards an arrest, each clue he uncovers seems to point in one, unexpected direction: Joan of Arc. Is the answer to Singleterry’s murder hiding in the barroom gossip of the Lion d’Or? Or in another century altogether?
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 94 members
Definitely a slow burner started off very gently & quite confusingly but then as the pace increased it became quite un-putdownable!
A murder mystery set in beautiful scenic surroundings, an unusual brutal death leads the investigation to uncovering a wealth of secrets, lies and feuds. English expat Graham Singleterry is the singed corpse and Matthieu Lombard the investigator of this foul deed that sullies the beauty of this part of the Loire Valley and the picturesque town of Saint-Genèse-sur-Loire. Compelling and exiting with well defined characters and story and even Joan of Arc! Excellent read.
I can best describe this murder mystery, set in the beautiful Loire Valley in France, in one word - magnifique! It has all the ingredients I look for in a classic whodunnit - a cast of interesting characters, a complex and clever plot, a shoal of red herrings, a smattering of jeopardy, a sprinkling of clues as to the identity of the murderer (which I missed) and a satisfactory denouement with all loose ends tidied up. The unusual setting in the Loire Valley is beautifully described and captured my imagination from the outset. The characters, including the relatively minor ones, are very well drawn and allowed this reader to inwardly cheer for or boo them as appropriate. The central characters, juge d’instruction (investigating magistrate) Matthieu Lombard, and his sidekick commissaire (senior police officer) Guy Aubret are superb creations and I would love to see their somewhat reluctant partnership feature in a series of books.
An original premise, well executed and with believable – if somewhat unlikeable – characters. It got off to a slow start, after the shocker of a prologue, but as it picked up speed, it became worthy of five stars. I received an advanced coy o this book in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Great detective mystery! I chose this book ahead of a trip to France and I absolutely loved it.
A Formidable Start..
A murder mystery in traditional vein in this first in the Juge Lombard series of mysteries set in the stunning Loire valley. The brutal killing of an Englishman and the discovery of his charred corpse prompts an investigation by juge d’instruction, Matthieu Lombard. A true whodunit in every sense with an intriguing, clever and immersive plot populated with a deftly drawn and credible cast of characters, red herrings aplenty and a well described and scenic setting. A formidable start to the series
I was a bit unsure at the beginning, I loved the scenery and characters, but the pace was quite slow. However, after a short while it did pick up, and the book became quite unputdownable!
Nice and twisty, and well written, with a wide cast of characters yet they were easy to keep track of.
I will happily read more by this interesting author, who has evidently done a lot of research.
This is the first book of Ian Moore’s that I have read and what a pleasure it was to read. From the very start the characters were introduced something I very much like to see. There are several murders carried out along the way with suggested a Joan of Arc theme and is carried on throughout the investigation. Being set in the Tours region of France Judge Lombard is coerced into taking on the investigation and having committed a transgression in the past together with the death of his wife his confidence has taken a blow. He is paired with a police inspector who works by the book and wants everything detailed and logged, the interaction between the two becomes fractious at times. However the judge persuades him that he has determined who the killer is and the come together and solve the murders. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend you read this book.
Set in a small village in France, a Fete is ongoing celebrating Joan of Arc. A body is found crucified by 2 girls..Juge Lombard is called in to assist the police with the investigation.Lombard returning to work after the death of his wife Madeleine, adapts an unorthodox ,hands on,approach to this crime,upsetting other Juges and even the police but comes up trumps at the end of the day.
’I’d previously read Death and Croissants by this author so had high expectations of this book which were fully met.
An English man is brutally murdered in a picturesque rural part of the Loire valley. The contrast of the violence and the landscapes and townscapes is a strong theme throughout the story giving it a real sense of place.
The murder scene is staged with the victim having been burnt and crucified on a cross with strong parallels to the death of Joan of Arc. The investigation is overseen by Juge d'Instruction Matthieu Lombard who goes against convention and works directly alongside the police team. Lombard has his own personal challenges and demons and the relationship with Commissaire Aubret is always on a knife edge as they form a reluctant alliance.
The story held my attention from the first page. The characters are carefully introduced with details of past events which sets the scene for an intriguing mix of secrets, jealousies, ambition, corruption and relationships. All set in sharp contrast to the idyllic town and rural surroundings of Saint-Genese-sur-Loire. There are are other victims as the story unfolds with some obvious and less obvious suspects, which adds to the suspense and drama. A very clever story clearly based on detailed research of French policing, the Loire valley and the history of Joan of Arc.
Graham Singleterry is an English expat living in the idyllic French town of Saint-Genèse-sur-Loire. Seemingly very involved with village life, and known by everyone, it is a shock when he is found murdered. Even more so that he was crucified on a hill overlooking the Loire valley, his body burned while on the cross.
Juge d’instruction Matthieu Lombard has not been working since the death of his wife. He is not quite sure if he has quit or if he is suspended, but either way he doesn’t care, as he is content to drown in his grief. With this gruesome murder, he is pulled back into work, and forced to work with the commissaire (senior police officer) Guy Aubret. Guy doesn’t trust Lombard, as it was not only his wife's death that has cast doubts over his suitability to act as a juge d’instruction, with rumours of evidence tampering floating around.
Lombard starts to dig into the case and as he unearths more clues and pieces of evidence, more and more links turn up with connections to Joan of Arc. As the body count starts to rise, Lombard has to quickly figure out what ancient history has in common with murders in their small village, and how this can help him catch the killer before it is too late.
This was an interesting read, with a different take on the usual police procedurals. Lombard as a juge d’instruction is a different role to what we commonly see in stories like this. Having a different take on a justice system than the usual UK or US system was a nice touch, and brought in a bit of added interest to the story. We were introduced to a wide range of characters, each with their own interesting backstory, and each was quite well drawn, to give us good insight into potential motives. Lombard himself is a complex, odd and unique character. His relationship with Guy is tense, and I did find myself wondering why Lombard didn’t just simply explain the situation about the evidence to put things to end. I won’t say any more so as not to ruin the story, but it did seem at times that Lombard was just causing issues for himself out of spite or contrariness, when a simple conversation could have cleared much up!
The story was good, with complex enough plots to keep you guessing for most of the book. After the initial body discovery, the story moved slowly and took some time to get going. Other points were a bit belaboured at times, and the history elements drawn out and somewhat stretched. Once the pace picked up at the end the story got to page turning tempo, with the race to solve the mystery before a final murder. Overall a good read, and I would probably read the next in the series. Hopefully with a little less drawn out history, and a touch less angst from the lead character!
*I received this book from NetGalley for review, but all opinions are my own.
A promising start to a new series.
A good bunch of characters and some incredible background was a great start though the story was a little slow.
However, the pace picked up and became quite a page turner.
The book has a good few surprises with twists and turns to keep you enthralled.
I will start the other series from this author now ai have read this. And look forward to next book in the series.
Set in the tranquil surroundings of the Loire Valley the ex-pat community are rocked by the murder of one of their own. The killing has all the hallmarks of the death of Joan of Arc whose alleged visit to the area is about to be celebrated. Disgraced Mathew Lombard who has been on leave since his wife died is brought back to investigate the case. His unique approach is not appreciated by some and his investigations are made more difficult by the attitudes of the community and prejudices of his colleagues. When another body turns up, also seemingly with historical links, evidence points to one potential culprit. But is that the case? Thus book really held my interest and kept me guessing until the very end. Loved Lombard's quirky character.....more books please featuring him.
Lombard is a juge in France. He likes to be active and participate in any investigation. I haven't read any of the previous books about him but I liked his character. Honest, decent and enquiring.
When a human murder victim is discovered dressed as a scarecrow he gets involved in the first case since his return after his wife died. He is instrumental in bringing the perpetrator to justice. A good book, entertaining read
There's tension enough surrounding the expats who live in the Loire valley, but when one prominent expat is found crucified, things take a turn for the worse. It's on the festival that celebrates Joan of Arc, and her history complicates things all the more.
Matthieu Lombard hasn't worked since the death of his wife a year ago and events around that time haven't fully been dealt with. Everyone is walking on eggshells around each other, but they have to just get on and find the killer.
The story has a gentle start, but don't let that fool you; it soon ramps up to become an all-nighter!
Right from the beginning I was hooked in. The opening scenes were so descriptive I felt I was really there being a witness.
A small town Saint-Genèse-sur-Loire full of secrets. You think the story is going in one direction, but, oh no the twists and turns come along and off you are sent along a very compelling journey with Juge Lombard who has his own demons he is battling into the depths of a town life, which on the surface is a picturesque tourist destination but do not be fooled!
A very compelling 5 star thriller that will keep you guessing from start to finish!
Cant wait to read more Juge Lombard Thrillers in the future
A police procedural set in a small French town which is investigated by the detectives from the nearby city of Tours. It was interesting to see how differently the police and judiciary work I comparison to the UK
The methods of murder were interesting, there were lots of potential suspects and Lombard the maverick juge d’instruction was a very relatable and likeable character. An enjoyable read.
What a very enjoyable murder mystery this book is. I hadn’t read any of Ian Moore’s work before, but I will in the future.
The story starts off a little slowly, with a chilling prologue, then with a very detailed, and highly imaginative style of murder. The narrative very soon picks up pace, which is maintained to the excellent conclusion. There are many twists and turns along the way, when the reader fears for the welfare, and/or sanity of Lombard, the main protagonist. There are many characters in this story, all well defined and easy to keep track of.
The writing style is very different from the usual whodunnit, the prose reading as tongue-in-cheek at times. I love that aspect of it, it is a refreshing change.
This is an intriguing, well thought out story, and being based in the stunning Loire valley, has a little added exoticism.
I would love to read more of Juge Lombard, and his exploits, I sincerely hope the author considers revisiting Lombard, and his French colleagues.
My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my advance copy of this book. Highly recommended.
I would like to thank Netgalley and Duckworth Books for an advance copy of The Man Who Didn’t Burn, the first novel to feature juge d’instruction Matthieu Lombard, set in and around Tours.
Englishman Graham Singleterry is found brutally murdered on the outskirts of Saint Genèse, a small village in the Loire. Lombard is asked to lead the investigation, but nothing is straightforward. He uncovers grudges, feuds and an unexpected link to Joan of Arc.
I enjoyed The Man Who Didn’t Burn, although it is slow to start and a bit convoluted in the story it has to tell. I was surprised that it is nothing like the author’s Follet Valley series - it is more a police procedural (not that Lombard has any interest in procedure) and has no humour. The author is to be applauded for trying a new direction.
As I said the plot is slow to start and that’s quite necessary in a new series as the characters have to be introduced and relationships between them explained and, boy, is there some explaining to do. Lombard lost his wife to cancer and a some of his grip on life. He hasn’t worked in the past year, perhaps due to suspension, perhaps due to bereavement leave it’s not quite clear, so this case is a baptism of fire, in terms of his colleagues not trusting him and the nature of the case. I found him quite dreary and couldn’t be bothered with his introspection (too much like the French literary tradition of troubled protagonists).
Once all the introductions are done the plot soon heats up with several more bodies and a fair amount of misdirection. It’s all go, not least because they have no idea of motive or a suspect, not that I did either, so that kept me turning the pages. The struggle with the investigation is compounded by friction between Lombard and the commissaire and his navel gazing. To be honest, I think the novel lacks the sharpness and clarity of a really good read, but it’s a solid start. 3.5*
A really enjoyable read, there was a little too much explanation of the French system at times but otherwise a good read. Hoping there are more in the series.
Detective novel set in the Loire Valley - quite original and an easy read.
Juge Lombard is the" juge d'instruction" who is called upon to help to investigate a grisly murder in a small town near Tours. With his own problems close to his chest, he goes about this in a suitably maverick way for his line of work. The novel moves along at a reasonable pace and the characters are well-developed. There's a lot to learn about the French way of life in small towns and in the police, which I was already acquainted with. It's quite good and a different type of novel. My usual gripe, usually about American thriller writers: the author doesn't need to show his extensive knowledge of the streets of his town - which doesn't add anything to the plot. An enjoyable read, recommended to lovers of detective fiction. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
I enjoyed this but at times it felt a little slow.
Thank you to the writer, publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book.
I very much enjoyed the setting of this story and the descriptions of life in the Loire valley. The characters of Lombard and Aubret were both interesting and sympathetic, however, I found the multitude of other characters who lived around the village to be a little shallow and confusing, and this made it difficult to form an opinion of who committed the murder. After several promising red herrings, I also found the actual denouement to be a little underwhelming. Nevertheless, I would welcome the chance to read a second instalment in this series for the setting and detectives alone.
An English ex-pat brutally murdered in the Loire Valley, a group of decidedly dodgy town officials and what appears to be a connection to Joan of Arc. There’s only one man for this case, and that’s Juge d’Instruction, Matthieu Lombard.
Lombard has been on extended leave following the death of his wife but, thanks to having an English father and a French mother, he is perfect for the case. If nothing else, it saves the need for a translator. Lombard has to delve into both the sizeable ex-pat community and the local one to find who would commit such a heinous crime?
I really liked this book. An insight into the French judicial system is new to me, and while the book is essentially a police procedural, there were a lot of things going on besides that. Personally, I found the references to Joan of Arc fascinating and made me want to find out more about her.
Many thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Despite the title (The Man Who Didn't Burn by Ian Moore) the story behind the gore is one of great charme. I used the French word as a guide to the writing style but it's also an exposé of small town French life where expats rub along with the locals. We've all seen the obsequious 'hommage' paid to the visiting Marie when the ingénue expat wants their latest business venture to receive the blessing of the local Mafia. In The Man Who Didn't Burn we find out about the deals that are cut in the small town of Saint-Genèse-sur-Loire to keep it a thriving tourist destination not to mention an expat magnet with the Notaire coining it. But is the macabre death of local expat Graham Singleterry with its Joan of Arc symbolism designed to create discord between the two communities?
Could it be that Singleterry got his comeuppance because he dared to promote that Saint-Genèse should be fully open on a Monday? Obvious heresy parallels with poor old Joan. But maybe the death is a diversion, an obfuscation? To find out we will have to embed ourselves with a rather tragic man, juge d’instruction Matthieu Lombard. Lombard, a man who hasn't really come to terms with his wife's death.
One of my favourite little passages: A fly buzzed fussily between them, like a boxing referee urging some action from inert heavyweights.
This is a beautifully written detective novel with great characters and as already mentioned, great charme.
I received this book as an ARC via Netgalley. Thank you so much as well as Duckworth Books.
After an English Expat was murdered near a French village Matthieu Lombard, the juge d'instruction, was called in to investigate.
Every clue is pointing towards a link with Joan of Arc but Lombard sees past it and tumbles head first into secrets, grudges and feuds between the residents of this idyllic French village.
It did take me a few chapters to get into this book and figure out who everyone was but the more I read, the more background of the characters I learned and the tempo is quicken as the investigation was progressing.
I liked how all the characters were connected and those connections were explored during the book. It was like a really village were everyone know everyone and most of their secrets.
I will definitely be reading the next book in this series.
This is the first book in a new series s,et in France, I was not sure initially as I found it difficult to understand the French judiciary system. Having said that, once I had got passed this and became to understand and like the main characters I thoroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to reading the next instalment.
Set around a small village a body is found dressed as a scarecrow. All the local secrets and local politics play a part in this excellent book. Thank you for the early copy in exchange for an unbiased review.
A crime mystery set in the French Loire valley and the first of a series featuring the enigmatic and troubled Juge Lombard. The murder of an English ex pat forces the Anglo-French Lombard to return from enforced leave and investigate. As a reader I as transported to France and enjoyed the twists and turns of the story.
This book starts with the horrific murder of an English ex-pat living in France's beautiful Loire Valley. Troubled Juge d'instruction, Mattieu Lombard is tasked with finding the killer but there are so many clues this proves difficult.
All the evidence seems to link to St Joan of Arc who famously wanted the English to leave France. Are these crimes just about ridding France of the English incomers?
Lombard is battling his own demons following the death of his wife and a period of leave. His superiors may want him to fail so that they can finally remove him. In addition his mother is troublesome with her eco-crusades.
This is a new crime series from Ian Moore and was thoroughly enjoyable. I look forward to the next Lombard story.
Thank you NetGalley and Duckworth Books for my approval to read and review this book.
Juge Matthieu Lombard is brought out of self imposed leave to take on a mysterious death of Graham Singleterry in the beautiful Loire Valley. It centres on a little town, which seems to be a great place to live but it has secrets!! How, why, who, what, when and where this all happened? It is full of twists and turns with a few red herrings thrown in to distract you from learning the true reason. It is a fast paced story with a surprising ending! I will be recommending this book.
I really enjoyed this book. It is set in France in the Loire Valley. The town has a very much village feel with everyone knowing everyone. One day a body is found on a crucifix but in the style of the one Joan of Arc was burnt on. The Judge (Juge) who has been instructed to deal with the case is Matthiew Lombard (French mother, English father) and he sometimes feels he does not belong to either camp. The man who is murdered is an English expat and the work begins to find out the mystery behind the murder. Lombard and the senior police offer (Guy Aubret) are at odds about the circumstances. Aubret hanging his hat on the Joan of Arc theory whereas Lombard feels there is more to this and continues to do his own thing annoying Aubret immensley . As Lombard works the case another body is found and there does not seem to be any indication that the two murders go together. The plot gets more complicated but in a good way. While investigating these crimes another person is severely injured and this leads Lombard to some way out thoughts which prove to be correct in the end. I liked the story and enjoyed the characters especially Aubret who had to put up with Lombard’s laboured ways. At times he could have just said what he thought rather than going off on his own but at the same time he did solve the case. Will read more of this author
As with all Ian’s books this is a pleasure to read. The locations are so well drawn, you feel like you could be in France yourself.
The murder in the opening pages is particularly brutal, letting you know that this is a different kind of book. There are still glimpses of the author’s trademark humour, but this is a much darker than the Follet Valley series.
A great introduction to the complex character of Juge Lombard and the start of a thrilling new crime series.
A gruesome murder of an English ex-pat resident of a small village in the Loire Valley brings Mathieu Lombard back to his role of Juge d'Instruction. It has been a year since Lombard left to grieve the passing of his wife, but he also left under a cloud of suspicion having been accused of destroying evidence in a case. Being that Lombard is 1/2 English and 1/2 French, he was seen as the natural choice for this sensitive case. While typically the role of juge d'instruction is to oversee the investigation, Mathieu decides to jump in and do the dirty work himself. This in no way pleases commissaire Guy Aubret. who would normally be running the show and is now reduced to sidekick. He does not trust Lombard on the least.
The method of the murder, a crucifixion covered as a scarecrow, and much of the evidence points to connections with Joan of Arc. St Joan has many connections to the Loire valley and this village, along with others, has a tourist industry economy baed on it, but what doe this many have to do with Joan of Arc?
Moore creates interesting and quirky town characters which could all have motives of different sorts. Each new piece of evidence makes the mystery more vexing rather than more clear. The pace of the story is a little slow, but I think that is actually a nod to the pace of the life in the Loire - NYC, this is not.
For readers who enjoy the Thursday Murder Club, or Death comes to Marlow, or the lesser know series of Colin Cotterill's Dr. Siri Paiboun set in Laos, you will definitely enjoy this first of a new series!
My thanks to NetGalley and Duckworth books for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Interesting to have a police procedural with a French background. The role of a "Juge d'instruction" is quite alien to an English reader. A murder mystery set in the Loire Valley. There are plenty of interesting characters and plot twists leaving the reader guessing right to the end.. Thanks to NetGalley for providing a very stisfying read.
A murder novel set in a small town in the Loire district of France. It starts with the gruesome killing of an Englishman. There is a fairly recently-widowed juge d'instruction directing the investigation, his first case in a year, and he has contretemps with his seniors and with the lead policeman, while still battling the grief of his bereavement. There is a lot of local politics.
Initially the book is slow-paced, but gradually the tempo quickens, with lots of twists in the plot as further killings follow. In the end I was carried along even though I found the storyline far-fetched.
I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
A modern murder mystery with a medieval twist is right up my street. Set in the Loire Valley, with a leading investigator who is half-English and half-French, and as conflicted as his dual nationality accords him.
The clever plot kept me guessing the culprit to the very end, the misdirection and plot twists leading myself and the characters on several wrong turns.
The characters were wonderfully diverse and well developed.
I can highly recommend The Man Who Didn't Burn by Ian Moore.
I will be reading more...
Set in the Loire valley with frequent mentions of the various chateaux of that region, this is a crime story with a difference. The setting is beautifully done. I loved the descriptions of the area and it would be a great book to take on holiday if you're going to be in that region. The protagonist, juge d'instruction Lombard is a man haunted by his belief that his dead wife was unfaithful. Nonetheless he is a sympathetic main character and we root for him throughout. The tale itself is quite complicated with British ex=pats featuring strongly.
Overall, a slow burner but worth reading. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
This is the first book I have read by Ian Moore, although I had heard of him, and it is very readable. With the setting and the characters, plus an interesting plot, it is a good book to relax with.
Thanks to Net Galley and the publishers for the opportunity to review this book.
I have been considering reading an Ian Moore book for a while now and as a rugby fanatic with the Rugby World Cup currently taking place in France it seemed an ideal time for an introduction with its French setting. I was not disappointed the light humorous touch of Ian's writing entertains the reader as one would expect from an author who is also a comedian. Recommend this book. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the chance to ARC this book.
I can't get enough of Matthieu Lombard, my new favorite literary character! He's an Englishman living in France, or a Frenchman who grew up in England, depending on your perspective, which means he never seems to fully fit in. This first book in what I hope is a long series centers around a symbolic murder at a small town Joan d'Arc festival in rural France. Lombard has been on leave from his position, (sort of an investigating prosecutor? It's explained, basically the police answer to him. Sort of). and returns to look into this case where his ability to annoy both the local French and the English ex-pats makes for a great read. It's a great plot, the twists fit in well, and has plenty of chuckles along the way. I anxiously await the next in the series.
Thank you to NetGalley and Duckworth Books for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
This is a highly enjoyable read. Sprinkled with bits of humour, including some very perceptive comments on French society, I really enjoyed it. I having recently been on holiday in Tours and Azay le Rideau, I particularly appreciated the descriptions of these towns. I am eagerly awaiting another in book with Juge Lombard!
Ian Moore is already one of my favourite writers since I discovered his death in the Loire series. This is a bit more serious and is full of details about French crime solving, so is both educational and a great read.
Despite the fact that this book deals with brutal murders, it is written at a very gentle pace. It is set in France where the English Expats and the local French residents live in relative harmony. As with all communities there is intriegue and feuds. With so many twists and turns, it is a true whodunnit in all ways.
Thank you to NetGalley and Duckworth Books for the advance copy of this book.
When English expat Graham Singleterry is brutally murdered, his charred corpse left on a Loire Valley hillside, the police turn to juge d’instruction Matthieu Lombard to find the perpetrator.
Instead, Lombard discovers a wealth of secrets, grudges and feuds in the idyllic town of Saint-Genèse-sur-Loire. He begins to suspect that the remaining members of the Comité des Fêtes know more about Singleterry’s death than they are letting on.
This is a beautifully written story. The description is superb and the characters are so believable. It makes you feel you are in rural France. I raced through the book and found it difficult to put down. The twists and turns continue throughout resulting in a great and unexpected ending.
Set in France 🇫🇷 this book draws you in straight from the the opening line “He knew he was dying.”
Set in the small town of Saint Genèse sir Loire, Juge d’instruction Matthieu Lombard is called in to investigate the brutal murder of an English expat.
The case brings clues that lead to Joan of Arc, and a whole bunch of secrets and mystery.
A great selection of characters that leave you wanting to know more at every encounter.
Very cleverly done and loved the pace it seemed relaxed but also with pace.
Will definitely be looking out for more of this series.
Thanks to NetGalley for this book
I really enjoyed this book. My first time reading @IanMoore and I wasn’t disappointed. This is book #1 in the #JugeLombard series and I’m already looking forward to the next one.
Set in France in the Loire Valley where the murder of English expat Graham Singleterry is discovered. Juge d’instruction Matthieu Lombard is assigned to the investigation with Commissaire Guy Aubret.
A well written story with possible links to Joan of Arc and some great twists. The characters are interesting with good backstories. I liked the strained relationship between Lombard and Aubret as it adds to the story. The setting is beautifully described
It is slower paced but the in-depth storyline kept me interested throughout.
Overall a brilliant police procedural. Definitely recommend this one. An enjoyable read.
Thanks to #NetGallery @duckworthbooks for an arc of #TheManWhoDidntBurn in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own.
Book publishes 12th October 2023.
With the numbers of French crime dramas now featuring on mainstream British TV channels this is a timely offering, featuring as it does what is to British eyes and ears the strange organisation within the French criminal investigation system. In this system there is a very specific role for magistrates or ‘juges d’instruction’, as they are known in France. Our hero in ‘The Man Who Did Not Burn’ is a juge d’instruction, with the inevitable complex back story - seemingly de rigeur now in crime fiction.
Once the reader has oriented him/herself within the French system things get more interesting, with Juge Lombard taking a much more active role than is normally envisaged. The plot is suitably complex with a healthy number of suspects scattered around, but for many readers it will be the relationship between Lombard and commissaire Albert, the lead detective on the case that provides a constant thread as the plot unfolds. The subtle humour involved in Lombard’s activities and how these are explained and interpreted by the author also provide an effective hook that should keep most readers actively engaged. The denouement is reasonably satisfying, although a lot of action and explanation has to be delivered in the final chapters. Overall, this is a satisfying read, with suitably idiosyncratic elements to capture readers’ interests.
I love the machinations and alternative processes of the French police and legal system, thanks to the TV series Spiral with its charismatic "Monsieur Le Juge." This procedural from Ian Moore, set in a beautiful part of France, satisfied my hunger for more.
Juge Matthieu Lombard has his work cut out withthe ritualistic death of an ex pat. Deciphering a number of clues based on French history is just one of his challenges, as he discovers the expat community is a simmering cauldron of feuds and grievances.
There's a pleasing combination of red herrings, strong characters and yes, another charismatic juge, that make this a compelling read, particularly for those who love a complex thriller.
I really enjoyed this book, a detective story with a difference ,set in France in the beautiful Loire valley this is a brilliant thriller /murder story .Lombard and Aubret are great characters in different ways .Multiple murders ,very atmospheric a great story ,I can't wait to read the next book in the series .Thank you to NetGalley for my ARC.
The first in a series about Juge Matthieu Lombard, and it is a novel full of Gallic charm and the obstinacy that the French are famous for.
The prologue is terrible, so overly complicated, too many characters were introduced so quickly, it was really hard to concentrate upon them all. I found this greatly disturbed the narrative, but perseverance brought forth a really satisfying and intriguing murder mystery.
The scenery in that area of France, the region of Tours, is stunning, with quaint villages, and the magnificent chateau of Amboise.
Judge Lombard has decided to leave Tours and start afresh following the death of his wife. Before he can get away, he is asked to lead the investigation into the death of an Englishman, on the basis that he himself, holds both English and French nationality.
The legal system is very different in France. The Judge is also the investigating detective and generally decides which direction the case will go, and which witnesses to question.
There are numerous suspects regarding the murder, and there is a strong theme of Joan of Arc running through this story. The Judge also has to contend with unsympathetic colleagues who believe he is not honest, his mother, who is frequently arrested for supporting various causes, and a nagging suspicion that his late wife was unfaithful. So far, so French!
I adore this area of France and loved this story, I certainly hope that more stories in the same vein will follow. I became really immersed in the location and the mannerisms of these villagers, this brought back happy memories.
My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers Farrago Books for my advance digital copy, freely given in return for my honest review.
I will leave a copy of this to Goodreads and Amazon UK on publication day. A five star read.
I found this book slow going at the beginning, but I soon began to warm to the investigation team. There were lots of twists accompanying more attacks/ deaths so it was hard to pin down a suspect. The main character was also working through personal issues. Despite the slow start, I found this book to be an enjoyable read.
Investigating Judge Lombard has been on a year long compassionate leave after the death of his wife. There is a cloud over him as some people think he tampered with evidence and that is being used as a stick to keep him in line.
He is called to attend to the murder of an Englishman, who has been killed by crucifixion. The local town seems to be pushing the 'fact' that Joan of Arc stopped there on her way to Blois. The bodies mount up and the suspect pool decreases as Lombard works out the who and they why.
An entertaining read.
This is the first time I have read a book by this author and it was a thoroughly enjoyable book. This is the first book in the Juge Lombard Mystery series and it is set in France. Lombard is called back to oversee a crime and it is the first case he is attending since the death of his wife.
The French Police system is different to ours in the UK, and this made for interesting reading in itself. It is interesting to see how other countries' departments work. Lombard is not like others, rather than sit behind a desk he likes to be out investigating, much to the annoyance of police officers and others. Lombard is sarcastic, often found to be mulling and keeping his thoughts to himself, being vague and going off on a different tangent. I liked him.
When a body is discovered disguised as a scarecrow, but crucified, then Lombard has his work cut out. There is little in the way of clues, but there is a link, this is one that becomes longer and longer as the case continues and another body is found. What starts as a coincidence, now becomes something that is almost a hindrance. Too much is fitting too well together, but does that mean the team are being sidetracked, set up or being led too well?
I really liked the pacing of this story, the mystery and investigation are not too fast-paced and there are some interesting locations and some history mixed into the storyline. Having mentions of bureaucracy, ways of doing things, councils, mayors and other positions of office makes for interesting reading. There is also the murder and the accompanying investigation, as I said a different style compared to UK or US styles and this is what I have read most so it was great to see.
This is a murder mystery and also crime and police procedural, there are some wonderful twists and I do like Lombard, he is a little bit like Poirot and Morse, or at least he reminded me of them! Not a brutal and bloodthirsty thriller, but more than a cosy mystery. Very enjoyable story and I am looking forward to picking up more by this author. I would happily recommend this one.
Crucifixion is an unusual way to kill a man – do you put the cross up first or attach the victim first? Does it require more than one murderer? The cross is on a small hill in rural France, and these questions are asked early on by Juge d’Instruction, Mattieu Lombard, to Commissaire Guy Aubret. The French criminal investigation system is quite complicated, but for the purpose of this review (and the story) there are three main positions: the Procureur, in overall charge of an area (in this case the Loire area centered on Tours), the Juge d’Instruction, his deputy so in day-to-day charge of the case, and the Commissaire, the local Head of the Police Judiciaire. Usually the first two are not involved in the actual investigation, but Lombard is not a ‘usually’ kind of chap. Both of the others have concerns about him, partly because of his tendency to get ‘hands on’ and partly because of a possible case of tampering with evidence. The Procureur in particular would like an excuse to fire him. Lombard has been on compassionate leave for the last year following his wife’s death, but is called back for this case because he is part English and the victim is an English ex-pat living, and now dying, in the environs of the village of Saint Genèse sur Loire, a few kilometres from Tours. The corpse has various features which provoke thoughts about Joan of Arc, which may or may not be clues, or motivational links, or obfuscations. As it happens, the village fête the previous evening centered around a putative historical visit by St Joan, and the dead man was on the committee. The other members of the committee are clearly suspects, as are his wife, the girls who found the body, a local tour guide, and a local History professor who happens to be an expert on St Joan. However, none of these has an obvious motive. And then one of them is also killed.
This is basically a police procedural, albeit a French one, with a troubled investigator (Lombard) with a past that affects his ability to focus on the crime. It is well constructed overall, but is very slow to begin with as it fills in Lombard’s past, links between the suspects and the victim, the necessary details about the judicial system, and brief details about Joan of Arc. Lombard’s progress is logical based on the clues presented, and the reader hits the same conclusions as he does up to the final sequence where he makes a jump which is not, I think, quite so soundly based on evidence. Not a major issue. This is the first of a new series, which I hope will be less cluttered by Lombard’s personal life.
I would like to thank NetGalley, the publishers and the author for providing me with a draft proof copy for the purpose of this review.
Once I’d read the gruesome first chapter, I thought I would at least try to continue with the book, and I’m glad I did, because it turned out to be a good read, one that (after several more chapters) I couldn’t put down. It is not as light-hearted as the previous books that I have read by this author, but I shall be looking out for the further adventures of the Juge.
First things first, I would compare Moore's writing to that of Allingham's. Initially, you might find the story to be a slow burn and a little difficult to follow through. Before you know, you are halfway through the story and you are hooked.
A slow start but pace intensifies as the story proceeds. We have plenty of red herrings here so if you are used to playing detective, maybe give yourself a break this time and let Juge Lombard solve it.
I was hooked on to the story and couldn't put it down until the end. I loved the denouement. There is this scene where Lombard comes face-to-face with someone who points a gun at him and I was like, Juge Lombard is a goner! Thank god for small mercies and surprising twists! Phew!
I loved this series debut and I am looking forward to reading the next installment. If you are looking for a unique and interesting mystery filled with details of French policing and a dash of French history, I highly recommend The Man Who Didn't Burn by Ian Moore.
I found the writing a little jerky at times and I wasn't always sure who was speaking. Perhaps this is because the Kindle version I read seemed to squash everything together.
Despite this, The Man Who Didn't Burn is an intriguing murder mystery. I enjoyed the snippets of information about Joan of Arc and the all other historical details Lombard came up with.
With some false trails and plenty of suspects, it did keep me guessing until the end.
I have read this author before & thought I knew what I was getting with this new series. How wrong I was. This Juge Lombard Mystery was right up my street - an intriguing opening, some cracking characters (vile & otherwise), an alternative judicial system & a crime drawing on centuries old history.
A British expat is brutally murdered. He had ingratiated himself in to his local town in the Loire Valley to such an extent that everyone appeared to have a reason to be thankful to him. Or want to kill him. Including his much younger wife. Juge Matthieu Lombard, on his first case since the death of his wife, & Commissaire Guy Aubret are like chalk & cheese; they almost work together well partly due to Lombard’s dual heritage & his insight in to ‘the British’ but also because Aubret is a bit of a stickler.
A solid mystery &, once I’d got to grips with the French job titles etc, it was a well paced read. Looking forward to the next one.
Unfortunately due to personal reasons I have not been able to read much recently and picked up this book to read the day after it was published. However it seems to have vanished from my kindle so I am unable to read and give feedback.
A great thriller set in beautiful surroundings.
A man is found crucified on a cross in the guise of a scarecrow and Matthieu Lombard is the man trying to find the perpetrator of this heinous crime.
The story moves at a fair pace and the writing makes it easy to read.
The main character is complex and has issues but he’s likeable .
An enjoyable and different police procedural read.
Thanks to NetGalley and Duckworth Books.
The first in a new series by Ian Moore. An intriguing murder mystery set in France with the victim a British ex-pat suffering an horrific death. The French justice system and investigation methods are different to those in the UK. A cracking cast of characters. A promising start to a new series.
This was a very entertaining story. The background was quite serious with several murders. The characters were something else. Various members of the police force with axes to grind and personal likes and dislikes. The one who was the target o the disagreements was the one who solved the murders, quietly and expertly.
A French murder mystery involving the death/murder of an Englishman Graham Singleterry set amongst a small ex pat community. Most of the story takes place in this small village in the Loire valley. Very well described and atmospheric. There is also a kind of fete/celebration to Joan of Arc which was really unusual.
I have to say i am used to English detectives (and some American) but here the author introduces us to an Investigating Magistrate Matthieu Lombard and his partner Guy Aubret.. All of which was also unusual but the book rolls along well although I thought it was slow at the start.
Lots of satisfactory twists and excellent ending.
Thanks to Net Galley and Duckworth Books for the chance to read and review.
A different type of murder mystery with the French system of investigation leading the story. A Juge who doesn’t fit the normal style of sitting behind a desk allowing the police to investigate and report is the lead character whose previous history is referred to often but as this is the first in a series that’s a mystery in itself as few details are given. Still as an entertaining yarn it delivers with moments of humour as well as some gruesome details of the murders. The villain of the piece is revealed in a surprising denouement and hopefully there will be another episode explaining his seemingly dodgy history.
I love learning about how other country's criminal system works! This was a good read and I love that Juge Lombard is beginning to move on from his wife's death and back in the land of the living! Hope there are more books in this series coming in the future!
I really liked this book. Set in France, disgraced Juge Lombard is tasked with investigating a crucifixion of an English ex-pat. As he uncovers secrets in the small town he deals with his own issues.
Although this is the first book in the series I liked that the characters were already established with the relationships between each other explained throughout.
Enjoyed this novel set in France following a half French/English Judge who is returning to work after the death of his wife. His new case is investigating a murder; the victim was left ready to be burnt at the stake, Joan of Arc style!
It was interesting to discover the French criminal system is very different to the UK with the Judge working alongside the police, not dolling out warrants or sitting on the bench when the criminal is bought to justice.
Certainly would be interested in following this character in the future.
I received this book from netgalley in return for a honest review.