Good day, my bookish peeps. I hope you’re all finding lots of wonderful new-to-you books to read this year. I’m still in my re-rereading romance phase, apparently, but I’ve also read some amazing new-to-me suspense, mysteries, and noir. I enjoy re-reading quite a number of series (what can I say, I love re-reading!). I often wonder what inspires an author to write a duology, trilogy, or quadrilogy vs. a series. I’m incredibly honored to welcome back, Bluette Matthey, author of the Hardy Durkin Travel Mystery series, including the latest release, Homicide Hérault. Ms. Matthey will be sharing us with the motivation behind this series. I’m looking forward to learning more and adding Homicide Hérault to my TBR list. I hope you’ll enjoy what Ms. Matthey has to share. Thank you, Ms. Matthey, for taking time away from your travels and writings to join us today. The blog is now all yours.
Murder from A-to-Z
by Bluette Matthey
For my Hardy Durkin Travel Mystery series, I take a “boots on the ground” approach — I like to experience first-hand the locale where I set my books. My protagonist, Hardy Durkin, is a trek guide for more off-the-beaten paths in Europe, so I am obligated to check out the areas involving each mystery (someone’s got to do it). I have duplicated some of Hardy’s treks, but I am definitely not as fit as my protagonist.
I followed Hardy to the French island of Corsica, birthplace of Napoleon, for my first book, Corsican Justice. Corsica is a picturesque Mediterranean island of lush blooming bougainvillea, a stunning coastline with lots of hidden beaches and coves, and gangsters. (Don’t let anyone tell you the Corsican mob doesn’t exist.)
My second book, Abruzzo Intrigue, found me climbing the highest fortress in the Italian Apennines, Rocca Calascio, built by the Romans in the 10th century. I also hiked into an ancient hermitage in the Majella National Park, with no cell phone signal or other sign of human life in an environment home to wolves, bears, and other wild beasts.
Black Forest Reckoning mandated a trip to Germany and the Alsace area of France, with a stop in the exclusive spa town of Baden-Baden for an all-day thermal spa treatment. One of Hardy’s hiking tour clients spent a day taking the waters, and I felt it essential to do so, as well.
Dalmatian Traffick required a trip to the Balkans, specifically Croatia, Albania, and mysterious Montenegro. (They post road signs in Montenegro warning of wild boar crossings!) I didn’t hike to the remote Ostrog Monastery, but took my life in my hands, literally, and drove there. Mostly one very narrow lane, snaking up the mountain of Ostroška Greda with the mountain wall on one side and a drop-off that increased at an alarming rate on the other, and no guard rails, anywhere. Perhaps a row of rather insignificant rocks placed beside the road, or an occasional tree, but nothing substantial to keep you from plummeting over the edge into eternity. I got the impression that driving is a blood sport in Montenegro.
Engadine Aerie, set in the Engadine Valley in Switzerland, featured a visit to the annual Engadine Skimarathon (a marathon for cross-country skiers) in ritzy St. Moritz. I also explored the ancient traboules of Lyon, France, stepping back into the era of the Knights Templar, the warrior monks who claimed Lyon as their financial center. The Knights Templar played a role in settling Switzerland, which may explain why that country is one large bank.
I live in the small city of Béziers in the Hérault region of France, which is the locale for my latest Hardy Durkin mystery, Homicide Hérault. Depending on who you ask, Béziers is the oldest city in France and a fascinating blend of history, culture, and food, as well as a great place for a mystery or two.
My goal is to write a Hardy Durkin mystery for each letter of the alphabet. Thus far, I’ve completed A, B, C, D, E, and H. F and G are on hold. I have twenty more mysteries to write, set in singular locations in Europe and slightly beyond. In the words of poet Robert Frost: “I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.” ♦
by Bluette Matthey
February 6 – March 3, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
Veteran trekker Hardy Durkin takes his first bike tour group to Béziers, in the South of France, for what is expected to be relaxing, uneventful bicycling in the Hérault region. This notion is kicked to the curb when a double cold-case with present-day repercussions is discovered on one of the group’s outings. Hardy becomes embroiled in another homicide when he is present at a murder that takes place during an innocent flamenco performance that is anything but.
The bottom line: murder and intrigue follow Hardy Durkin like a shadow, even in the sunny, laid-back South of France, but this time his wheel of fortune veers uncomfortably off the rails in Homicide Hérault.
Published by: Blue Shutter Publishing
Publication Date: December 2022
Number of Pages: 199
ISBN: 9781941611227 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781941611203 (eBook)
ASIN: B0BR47S8HQ (Amazon Kindle)
Series: Hardy Durkin Travel Mystery Series Book 6 | Each is a Stand Alone Mystery
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Bookshop.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N eBook | BookDepository.com | Kobo eBook | Goodreads | Smashwords
Bluette Matthey is a 3rd generation Swiss American and an avid lover of European cultures. She has decades of travel and writing experience. She is a keen reader of mysteries, especially those that immerse the reader in the history, inhabitants, culture, and cuisine of new places. Her passion for travel, except airports (where she keeps a mystery to pass the time), is shared by her husband, who owned a tour outfitter business in Europe. Bluette particularly loves to explore regions that are not on the “15 days in Europe” itineraries. She also enjoys little-known discoveries, such as the London Walks, in well-known areas. She firmly believes that walking and hiking bring her closer to the real life of any locale. Bluette maintains a list of hikes and pilgrimages throughout Europe for future exploration.
Bluette is the author of the Hardy Durkin Travel Mystery series, author and developer of the South-of-France travel app, Potty Poche, and her latest mystery, Two Murders Too Many. She lives in Béziers in the South of France, with her husband and trio of loving cats.
Catch Up With Bluette Matthey:
BookBub – @notyourusualtrek
Instagram – @notyourusualtrek
Twitter – @HardyDurkin
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