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  • a gripping read

    4.5★s The Paris Affair is the third novel by Australian author, Pip Drysdale. Three weeks into her new job as arts and culture writer for online English-language magazine The Paris Observer, Harper Brown is desperate to please her editor-in-chief, Hyacinth Cromwell-Scott, hoping she might get a chance at the more prestigious crime column. Her piece on American artist Noah X’s exhibition is criticised for lacking personal details; luckily Harper has formed a connection with the artist and is confident that she can get what’s needed at his private party. But that doesn’t go quite like she expected… When a young female art model goes missing, Harper realises she was one of the last people to see her alive, at that party, but is conflicted, as the woman has something that has the potential to threated her career. When the body turns up, Harper begins to suspect the person who compromised her situation. What sort of person is Drysdale’s protagonist? Previously burned in a relationship, Harper likes to keep her encounters with men uncomplicated, no strings attached. Having dropped her most recent three-day-old relationship as he was getting too clingy, she finds herself in an indiscriminate liaison that could jeopardise her career. Yet, with a killer out there picking off women at random, she reacts to her job worries by distracting herself listening to a murder podcast and hooking up for a quick session with an unknown man met online. Considering she’s under pressure from her editor and having to deal with a very competitive colleague, she is quite clever, innovative and resourceful, although she has a poor grasp of the correct use of personal pronouns considering she is meant to be a writer, but perhaps this is a common trait for those below a certain age. She is surprised to later find herself taping over a CCTV camera, picking a lock and photographing documents. Nor has the research for the blog she used to write (How not to get murdered), which included freeing yourself when bound by duct tape, escaping a car boot and opening handcuffs, sufficiently prepared her for being in those situations herself. An interesting sidebar to the story is the attitude of the French police to missing persons: “in France, the police won’t search for you unless there are clear signs of foul play or you’re a minor. Which means that approximately one thousand unidentified bodies are found in France each year, compared with around sixty-six in Britain, which has a similar population. Most of the time the DNA from those bodies isn’t recorded either.” Lesson: don’t go missing in France, unless you want to. Once again, Drysdale gives the reader a fast-paced thriller with plenty of turns and not a few red herrings, an excellent twist and a nail-biting climax. A gripping read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Australia.

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  • Questionable

    Hard to rate this one. Felt like I was waiting forever just to find some semblance of a plot that I almost gave up. I realise the need to set the scene, but not at the expense of turning off the reader. However, when the plot was finally revealed and it started to thicken, it was a real page turner. Uncertain whether I will pursue other books by this author in future.

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