The Night Gate by Peter May
In a sleepy French village, the body of a man shot through the head is disinterred by the roots of a fallen tree. A week later a famous art critic is viciously murdered in a nearby house. The deaths occurred more than seventy years apart.
Asked by a colleague to inspect the site of the former, forensics expert Enzo Macleod quickly finds himself embroiled in the investigation of the latter. Two extraordinary narratives are set in train – one historical, unfolding in the treacherous wartime years of Occupied France; the other contemporary, set in the autumn of 2020 as France re-enters Covid lockdown.
And Enzo’s investigations reveal an unexpected link between the murders – the Mona Lisa.
Tasked by the exiled General Charles de Gaulle to keep the world’s most famous painting out of Nazi hands after the fall of France in 1940, 28-year-old Georgette Pignal finds herself swept along by the tide of history. Following in the wake of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as it is moved from château to château by the Louvre, she finds herself just one step ahead of two German art experts sent to steal it for rival patrons – Hitler and Göring.
What none of them know is that the Louvre itself has taken exceptional measures to keep the painting safe, unwittingly setting in train a fatal sequence of events extending over seven decades.
Hard to believe this really book number 7 in the Enzo Macleod series. But sadly, it is the finale. But what an ending to the series The Night Gate (riverrun) by bestselling author Peter May is released today 18th March and is set between France and Scotland in World War II and present day including covid lockdown France and is Peter May at his absolute best.
Forensic expert Enzo Macleod should be enjoying his retirement with his wife but has been asked by a former colleague to come and look at the remains of a man that has been discovered beneath a tree in a quiet French village, closer inspection reveals the man was shot in the head and has been buried here for about 75 years. But close by an art dealer is murdered. Now Enzo is investigating both cases and there is more than a passing regret at excepting the request. Enzo suspects that both cases could be linked. To do this Enzo must look to the past to solve two murders separated by over 70 years.
Set against a backdrop of different timelines and countries, but at the heart of this brilliant novel is da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. When France fell to the Germans in 1940, it was Hitler who wanted the Mona Lisa to be the centre piece of his super museum at Linz in Austria and has recruited Paul Lange to acquire it but also at the same time Hermann Göring has eyes on the famous painting for his own private collection and he has Karlheinz Wolff determined to get his hands on the painting first.
This is a gripping and compelling thriller that lasts for 500 pages, as Enzo gets to grips with two dead bodies the story goes back in time as de Gaulle now in London asks a young female to make sure that the Mona Lisa is kept out of reach of the Nazis as they plundered art from all over France. Enter 28-year-old Georgette Pignal who heads to the Isle of Lewis for her training before she heads to occupied France. Georgette is young and brave and determined to do everything she can to foil the Nazis of getting their hands on the Mona Lisa (called La Jaconde in France).
The story weaves from wartime France and a France in lockdown of the autumn in 2020 and as Covid-19 has the world in its grip.
I loved how Peter May has weaved a stunning thriller out of history and current day using the pandemic as part of the story. I am not going to give any clues as to what happens in the novel, as if you are a fan of Peter May’s previous thrillers you will want to read The Night Gate. You will not be disappointed.
My thanks to Sophie Ransom and Midas PR for the review copy of The Night Gate by Peter May.
The Night Gate by Peter May is published by riverrun today 18 March 2021 and is available NOW to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org
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