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Deep in the Burgundy countryside, a murder case is perplexing Inspector Pel. The body was found in the salon, an elegant room with a grand piano and a Louis XIV escritoire. The shutters were still closed and the dead end of a record of Rigoletto was still turning.There are some obvious suspects, yet the clothes of none of them show any signs of blood. And what were the ten Deep in the Burgundy countryside, a murder case is perplexing Inspector Pel. The body was found in the salon, an elegant room with a grand piano and a Louis XIV escritoire. The shutters were still closed and the dead end of a record of Rigoletto was still turning.There are some obvious suspects, yet the clothes of none of them show any signs of blood. And what were the tensions that must have torn at this family? It’s only when a second murder takes place that the method of the first becomes startlingly clear. Moody, sharp-tongued and worrying constantly about his health, Inspector Evariste Clovis Désiré Pel ensures that no case goes unsolved, in these mordantly witty French mysteries.


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Deep in the Burgundy countryside, a murder case is perplexing Inspector Pel. The body was found in the salon, an elegant room with a grand piano and a Louis XIV escritoire. The shutters were still closed and the dead end of a record of Rigoletto was still turning.There are some obvious suspects, yet the clothes of none of them show any signs of blood. And what were the ten Deep in the Burgundy countryside, a murder case is perplexing Inspector Pel. The body was found in the salon, an elegant room with a grand piano and a Louis XIV escritoire. The shutters were still closed and the dead end of a record of Rigoletto was still turning.There are some obvious suspects, yet the clothes of none of them show any signs of blood. And what were the tensions that must have torn at this family? It’s only when a second murder takes place that the method of the first becomes startlingly clear. Moody, sharp-tongued and worrying constantly about his health, Inspector Evariste Clovis Désiré Pel ensures that no case goes unsolved, in these mordantly witty French mysteries.

30 review for Death Set to Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This is a new edition of the first Inspector Pel mystery, first published in 1979. The series is set in Burgandy, France, and features the chain smoking, grumpy Inspector Evariste Clovis Désiré Pel. This feels very much like a first book; introducing the characters and setting. So you have Pel himself, with his loyal assistant, Sergeant Darcy, and his bullying housekeeper, who seems to spend most of her time, loudly, watching television. As I am no lover of television myself, and find it really This is a new edition of the first Inspector Pel mystery, first published in 1979. The series is set in Burgandy, France, and features the chain smoking, grumpy Inspector Evariste Clovis Désiré Pel. This feels very much like a first book; introducing the characters and setting. So you have Pel himself, with his loyal assistant, Sergeant Darcy, and his bullying housekeeper, who seems to spend most of her time, loudly, watching television. As I am no lover of television myself, and find it really intrusive, I sympathised with him very much over this! Pel is called to investigate the murder of Madame Chenandier, who made much of the fact she once sang in the chorus and was beautiful. She lived with her husband, a wine exporter, who was away on business at the time, her housekeeper, and her lonely daughter, Odile, who lacked her mother’s confidence and self esteem. The mystery is a fairly gentle one. Pel uncovers the clues and interviews the witnesses; including the ne’er do well brother, neighbours and relatives, to discover who is guilty. The joy is in the characters and setting. You realise that Pel is not quite as fearsome as he pretends – especially once he befriends the housekeepers nephew. Despite his temper, he obviously is not the master of his own house and enjoys the small victories he gains in life. I look forward to reading more of Pel’s adventures. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    This first Inspector Pel mystery was originally published in 1979 and has now been republished by Farrago, an imprint of Duckworth Books, UK, who gave me the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy through NetGalley. Once again, I thank Farrago for introducing me to some great detective fiction of the past. In this intriguing police procedural set in France, Inspector Pel is called in to investigate the bludgeoning death of a woman in her country home. There are a slew of possibilities for This first Inspector Pel mystery was originally published in 1979 and has now been republished by Farrago, an imprint of Duckworth Books, UK, who gave me the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy through NetGalley. Once again, I thank Farrago for introducing me to some great detective fiction of the past. In this intriguing police procedural set in France, Inspector Pel is called in to investigate the bludgeoning death of a woman in her country home. There are a slew of possibilities for 'whodunit' but the most obvious suspects seem to all have alibis. Step by step, Inspector Pel and Sergeant Darcy dig through the lies and secrets to get to the truth. This crew of police investigators are interesting characters and their interactions are often quite humorous. This is a fun, quick read. Written forty years ago, the reader may notice some gender stereotyping and misogyny that wouldn't be accepted today but, taken for what it is and the time in which the story is set, this doesn't detract much from the total enjoyment of the mystery.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sid Nuncius

    I enjoyed Death Set To Music. Written in 1979, this is the first of the Inspector Pel series (and the first that I have read); it is a decent police procedural with some amusing aspects which is very well written. Pel is an Inspector in the French Police, based in Burgundy. He is a grumpy, rather misanthropic hypochondriac, but a very good detective. Here he and his team investigate the gruesome murder of a fairly wealthy woman and the story unfolds slowly (rather too slowly at times) as Pel’s we I enjoyed Death Set To Music. Written in 1979, this is the first of the Inspector Pel series (and the first that I have read); it is a decent police procedural with some amusing aspects which is very well written. Pel is an Inspector in the French Police, based in Burgundy. He is a grumpy, rather misanthropic hypochondriac, but a very good detective. Here he and his team investigate the gruesome murder of a fairly wealthy woman and the story unfolds slowly (rather too slowly at times) as Pel’s well-drawn officers diligently pursue leads. It can drag a bit, but it isn’t too long, it was well written and had enough humour to keep me interested. The denouement was a little contrived but it didn’t spoil the book and I found the whole thing an enjoyable read. I can’t say that this is a classic, but it’s certainly good enough for me to read more of Inspector Pel and I can recommend it. (My thanks to Farrago for an ARC via NetGalley.)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anjana

    This book was something that caught my eye solely because of the time and place where the story took place. It is based in France in the 1970s. The copy I read is a reprint, and I am glad I got a chance to read it. Inspector Pel is an intriguing character, short and brusque with his subordinates. He nonetheless has his lighter moments. He is almost scared of offending his landlady and is happy for some people on his team when things go well making him a study of contradictions. The story is quite This book was something that caught my eye solely because of the time and place where the story took place. It is based in France in the 1970s. The copy I read is a reprint, and I am glad I got a chance to read it. Inspector Pel is an intriguing character, short and brusque with his subordinates. He nonetheless has his lighter moments. He is almost scared of offending his landlady and is happy for some people on his team when things go well making him a study of contradictions. The story is quite straightforward. A woman is found dead with music playing in the background. Even the mildest digging brings out the dirty laundries of all the key players, and nothing (by the end) will end up surprising us. This is a proper police procedural with a painstaking investigation into every avenue available. We are kept updated about all the findings, the guesses and all the interactions between the suspects (which includes almost everyone). The second in command is also an interesting caricature, a man who has a way with women, immune to the harshness of his superior as well as being someone who takes different roles in the team hierarchies based on the mood of the exact situation. Pel is not a very complex character or stand out in any extraordinary way except for his inner reflections which are quite heavy and even mildly melodramatic. Despite this (or maybe because of it), he was someone I found very realistic and therefore enjoyed reading this. It is a quick read, and I might pick the next one up given a choice. I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based only on my reading experience.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bonnye Reed

    Farago Books 99

  6. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    A book and an author that makes so many references in his first novel about Maigret is going to be finally judged by that standard and come up short. Chief Inspector Pel is no Maigret and Mark Hebden is no Georges Simenon. Apples and Pears. Hopefully, as the series progresses this preoccupation will fade, and more focus can be brought to his own creation. Pel is observant and methodical; slow to form opinions and quick to delegate. His junior detectives are interesting and enough has been revealed A book and an author that makes so many references in his first novel about Maigret is going to be finally judged by that standard and come up short. Chief Inspector Pel is no Maigret and Mark Hebden is no Georges Simenon. Apples and Pears. Hopefully, as the series progresses this preoccupation will fade, and more focus can be brought to his own creation. Pel is observant and methodical; slow to form opinions and quick to delegate. His junior detectives are interesting and enough has been revealed to indicate these books will appeal to followers of police procedurals. The plot is clever and well balanced with the reader being able to assemble the clues and become involved in the crime drama / murder mystery. Unfortunately, my review loses another star due to the treatment of women in the book and the view of the male protagonists towards the female characters. There seems to be a sexual context to most encounters and some repressed sexual tension. To the point where you wonder if the author has a low opinion of women bordering on misogamy. I love that these are books written in a less contemporary time, this first one originally published in 1979. It is good to have another detective series based in France and Burgundy is an interesting location. Pel is an interesting detective. A bachelor, struggling with a dominating housekeeper. A borderline hypochondriac who beats himself up when he smiles or drinks too much alcohol. Enough to want to spend time in his company providing we lose Maigret as a benchmark and more seriously write less openly about women as sex objects.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maddy

    Also published as "Pel and the Parked Car" PROTAGONIST: Inspector Pel SETTING: Burgundy, France SERIES: #1 of 17 RATING: 4.0 WHY: Mme Chenandier has been murdered. The suspects are plentiful, including various members of the household staff, her lover, her philandering husband and her strange daughter. The investigation is led by Inspector Evariste Clovis Desire Pel, an intriguing character who is grumpy, sarcastic, worried about his health (but not enough to really do something about it). He is assi Also published as "Pel and the Parked Car" PROTAGONIST: Inspector Pel SETTING: Burgundy, France SERIES: #1 of 17 RATING: 4.0 WHY: Mme Chenandier has been murdered. The suspects are plentiful, including various members of the household staff, her lover, her philandering husband and her strange daughter. The investigation is led by Inspector Evariste Clovis Desire Pel, an intriguing character who is grumpy, sarcastic, worried about his health (but not enough to really do something about it). He is assisted by the charming unflappable Darcy and a new guy lacking confidence, Nosjean. I'm looking forward to further adventures with this crew. I found the book to be delightful.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Clark

    To be fair, I'd probably give this 2 1/2. It takes place in Dijon, in France, and has an interesting Police Inspector/protagonist. I like his description. He is happiest when he is convinced he is going to die soon. I liked his friendship with a young boy and the fact that he is bullied by his housekeeper. But, ultimately,I was disappointed by the classic puzzle mystery and not that interested in the characters beyond the inspector so I'll be passing on others in the series. To be fair, I'd probably give this 2 1/2. It takes place in Dijon, in France, and has an interesting Police Inspector/protagonist. I like his description. He is happiest when he is convinced he is going to die soon. I liked his friendship with a young boy and the fact that he is bullied by his housekeeper. But, ultimately,I was disappointed by the classic puzzle mystery and not that interested in the characters beyond the inspector so I'll be passing on others in the series.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John

    Three and a half stars. Slow to start with and I didn't think I was going to like it but it improved as I got further into it. Not bad but Maigret needn't worry : Pel won't be knocking him off the top French spot. Three and a half stars. Slow to start with and I didn't think I was going to like it but it improved as I got further into it. Not bad but Maigret needn't worry : Pel won't be knocking him off the top French spot.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Bougie

    A somewhat tedious murder mystery with dated characters and social conventions. I looked up the copyright date this evening before finishing the book and wasn't surprised to find it was published in 1979. In other series or dramatizations, unhappy or bad tempered main characters are treated in a way that makes us like them or quite interested in them. Hebden/Harris' Inspector Pel isn't rendered in a way that engages me. The stereotypes about some of the other police officers such as Sergeant Dar A somewhat tedious murder mystery with dated characters and social conventions. I looked up the copyright date this evening before finishing the book and wasn't surprised to find it was published in 1979. In other series or dramatizations, unhappy or bad tempered main characters are treated in a way that makes us like them or quite interested in them. Hebden/Harris' Inspector Pel isn't rendered in a way that engages me. The stereotypes about some of the other police officers such as Sergeant Darcy, the ladies' man, are repetitive and also didn't serve to make me want to know more about them. I didn't have a sense of a single well rounded character among the cast of people involved in the murder either. I would give the book 2-1/2 stars for at least keeping me interested in who had perpetrated the grisly murder, the only reason I read to completion.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mariana Quesada

    2.5 stars Thanks to NetGalley for providing me this copy in exchange for an honest review Inspector Pel is a peculiar kind of man fixated on how anything could potentially lead to his death. In this book he takes us through his investigation of a murder. I was intrigued and wanted to know who had committed the crime and how they'd done it, the story kept me distrusting my theories which is always good in a mystery novel. However, the pace of this book felt odd, at times it felt dragging but at t 2.5 stars Thanks to NetGalley for providing me this copy in exchange for an honest review Inspector Pel is a peculiar kind of man fixated on how anything could potentially lead to his death. In this book he takes us through his investigation of a murder. I was intrigued and wanted to know who had committed the crime and how they'd done it, the story kept me distrusting my theories which is always good in a mystery novel. However, the pace of this book felt odd, at times it felt dragging but at the same time it seemed like it kept skipping things, which made it hard to connect with the story. I also found it hard to connect with any of the characters. Overall I think it lacked depth and development to keep me involved in the plot.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sreeram

    I love police procedurals. They may not be everyone's cup of tea, I admit. I had read the Inspector Pel series in college. And despite the time lag, and growth of TV shows and lots more authors, I found the book quite engrossing. The characters are well etched out and there is a lot of wit and humour in the book despite the gloomy presence of its protagonist and the crime. A very good destresser, in my opinion. I love police procedurals. They may not be everyone's cup of tea, I admit. I had read the Inspector Pel series in college. And despite the time lag, and growth of TV shows and lots more authors, I found the book quite engrossing. The characters are well etched out and there is a lot of wit and humour in the book despite the gloomy presence of its protagonist and the crime. A very good destresser, in my opinion.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Andy Johnson

    Excellent mystery This has the atmosphere and the personalities that engage you. Inspector Pel has the quirks and foibles of the best detective genre.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

    I keep trying new things. I liked Inspector Pei, but the plot didn't grab me. I keep trying new things. I liked Inspector Pei, but the plot didn't grab me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sreader

    Barely ok.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tonstant Weader

    Death Set to Music is an enjoyabe police procedural set in Burgundy. The lead character is Inspector Pel, an irascible hypochondriac with a weakness for alcohol. A local woman had been bludgeoned to death. It appears 3000 francs and some jewelry were stolen. She was a former opera singer and died while an opera album was playing which made her death “set to music” and probably covered up the sounds of her brutal murder for the housekeeper and her daughter who were both home at the time. There are Death Set to Music is an enjoyabe police procedural set in Burgundy. The lead character is Inspector Pel, an irascible hypochondriac with a weakness for alcohol. A local woman had been bludgeoned to death. It appears 3000 francs and some jewelry were stolen. She was a former opera singer and died while an opera album was playing which made her death “set to music” and probably covered up the sounds of her brutal murder for the housekeeper and her daughter who were both home at the time. There are plenty of suspects with opportunity, her brother, the neighbors, the gardener, the housekeeper, daughter. There are also plenty with motive, including her husband. She was killed with the fireplace poker so anyone had the means. Figuring it out will take true discernment as there are plenty of red herrings. I like curmudgeons, particularly when you can see their surface misanthropy hides tenderness and compassion. That’s Inspector Pel. There is a lot of humor, some of it a bit broad when mocking Pel’s hypochondriam his weakness in the face of offers of beer and wine, and the way he treats his subordinates. Death Set to Music is my introduction to this series and I look forward to enjoying his futher adventures. I received an e-galley of Death Set to Music from the publisher through NetGalley. https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Pawson

    The first in a new series set in France follows Inspector Pel a chain smoking lifestyle worrying policeman who does not suffer fools gladly set in the style of Maigret. Living with a housekeeper who drives him mad he only has his job.He is hard on his Sergeants to push them to make the grade. He follows the clues meticulously of his new murder Madame Chenandier killed in a very bloodthirsty way yet all the suspects are clean. It is good old fashioned police work that is going to solve our crime an The first in a new series set in France follows Inspector Pel a chain smoking lifestyle worrying policeman who does not suffer fools gladly set in the style of Maigret. Living with a housekeeper who drives him mad he only has his job.He is hard on his Sergeants to push them to make the grade. He follows the clues meticulously of his new murder Madame Chenandier killed in a very bloodthirsty way yet all the suspects are clean. It is good old fashioned police work that is going to solve our crime and you have very believable characters to follow. This is a book that keeps you engaged till the end and you will look forward to further books in the series. I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eugene

    Wonderful read, 1st in the Inspector Pel series. Mme. Chenandier has been brutally murdered at home, her head beaten to a pulp. Everybody who could possibly be suspect has a seemingly solid alibi. But Pel has Sgts. Darcy, Nosjean, Misset, Krausse and Lagé busy following the trail he suspects, and even though they're stymied at first, his housekeeper's nephew comes to pay her a visit and gives Pel just the idea to figure it all out. Very satisfying police procedural set in Dijon, France. Pel and Wonderful read, 1st in the Inspector Pel series. Mme. Chenandier has been brutally murdered at home, her head beaten to a pulp. Everybody who could possibly be suspect has a seemingly solid alibi. But Pel has Sgts. Darcy, Nosjean, Misset, Krausse and Lagé busy following the trail he suspects, and even though they're stymied at first, his housekeeper's nephew comes to pay her a visit and gives Pel just the idea to figure it all out. Very satisfying police procedural set in Dijon, France. Pel and his force are always fun to read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sonja van der Westhuizen | West Words Reviews

    Death set to music is an enjoyable and most entertaining way to spend your time getting lost in a story reminiscent of Poirot and I wouldn’t mind biding my time reading this rest of the series. Highly recommended if you feel like reading something off-beat. Full review here: https://westwordsreviews.wordpress.co... Death set to music is an enjoyable and most entertaining way to spend your time getting lost in a story reminiscent of Poirot and I wouldn’t mind biding my time reading this rest of the series. Highly recommended if you feel like reading something off-beat. Full review here: https://westwordsreviews.wordpress.co...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Dickinson

    Fabulous Thank goodness this is now available in kindle. Mark Jensen created a character to rival Maigret when he created Pel. The story line is great, the writing superb and each character is interesting. The humour in the book entertains and makes it a joy to read. If you like Maigret try Inspector Pel.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leyla Johnson

    A really well written mystery, packed with real like people and intelligent police. I found it very entertaining and very much a book I wanted to keep reading. i will certainly read more of this series and from this author.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Libbeth

    I have not given stars to this book purely because I read it so long ago I cannot remember how I felt about it. An opera maniac meets her doom while the stereo plays Rigoletto

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alexander G Bates

  24. 4 out of 5

    joanna e luxton

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  26. 5 out of 5

    John Richards

  27. 4 out of 5

    wally walter

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tommy Bean

  29. 5 out of 5

    John Scoble

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jack Heath

    Synopsis: Mme. Camille-Jeanne Chenandier is found bludgeoned to death in her living room. Inspector Pel leads the investigation.

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