After a fire, the wealthy landowner Patrice Lafarge is found alone and dead in his bedroom locked from the inside. Inspector Rimbaud reviews the case and counts on the help of his sharp-witted Aunt Emilie. What at first appears to be an accidental death is after the autopsy declared to be a homicide. One of the children at home on Clos Saint-Jacques to celebrate Patrice Lafarge’s 75th birthday over a May weekend has to be the killer, but – who did it, how was it done and for what reason?
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"An artfully rendered tale of homicide and family intrigue. Veteran author Ekemar puts the plot at a slow simmer, trickling out pertinent information while also maintaining suspense. There’s no shortage of motives among the characters; the lives of the siblings are full of personal disarray of one kind or another, making them each prime candidates for committing the crime."
– Kirkus Reviews
"The Patricide by Kim Ekemar is a gripping ‘whodunit’ mystery set in 1935 France … The author takes the reader inside the mind of all the characters and exposes the reader to emotions felt by each of the characters. As the story progresses the pace picks up considerably, especially after the death of Patrice. This book certainly has a lot going for it. It's a locked-room mystery of the highest order: a suspicious death, a cleverly constructed plot, intriguing clues and red herrings aplenty to keep the pages turning. The narrative voice is succinct, dry, straightforward, and easy to read.
I liked the fact that the reader is given the opportunity to figure out the solution from the clues given – and the solution to the mystery is nothing short of brilliant, let me tell you! The author ups the ante with the most creative solution I have ever read.
The plot moves at a steady pace, and the author does a wonderful job of providing just enough detail to paint a clear picture of the characters and settings. The characters are rather interesting, and the who, how and why are not divulged until the last page. It’s a very well written and edited book, which I recommend for readers who enjoy classic mysteries and want to immerse themselves in the pleasures of a locked-room murder challenge.
This is a competent example in the locked-room mystery genre, and a very entertaining one to boot.
– OnlineBookClub Reviews
“Kim Ekemar’s engaging murder mystery, The Patricide, brings a troubled French family together for its patriarch’s seventy-fifth birthday celebration. Ekemar’s intimate psychological profiles of his characters reveal the inner conflict driving their behaviors and offer possible motives for murder. The text carefully sets the stage and lays out the props for the night of the murder and the events that play out afterward, causing the suspects to squirm as their secrets are brought to light. With The Patricide, Kim Ekemar creates an intriguing, complex mystery with brisk pacing, effective and natural dialogue, and a skillful unraveling of clues that leads to a satisfying conclusion.”
– Clarion Forward Reviews
“Given how few modern mystery writers tackle the Locked Room form, when I learned about The Patricide (and after trying the sample on Amazon) I was excited to give it a go.
“The story concerns the Lafarge family and their estate in the French countryside. The father, Patrice, is concerned that after his death his children will seek to monetize every aspect of their lands, destroying their natural beauty, so he has determined that he will alter his will to create a trust that will bind their actions after his death. His children have long since moved away, to his considerable disappointment, and so he decides to request they all return home for his seventy-fifth birthday so he can share the news.
“His children are naturally resentful of this change of plans and, when Patrice refuses to confirm that he has already taken the steps necessary to set up the trust his death seems inevitable. The question is how will it be managed and who will be responsible?
““Well, as I noted at the top we are in locked-room territory here. In the early hours of the morning following the birthday party, his daughter Constance wakes her siblings to tell them there is smoke coming from their father’s bedroom. They try the door to discover it is locked, forcing the group to break open the window and open the door from the inside. When they do they discover that Patrice died of asphyxiation but there is some further mystery about how the fire started and spread when almost all of the room is made of stone.
“The mystery falls into the hands of the unimaginative Inspector Rimbaud who initially has little interest in the conflicts that may have existed between the children and their father but that changes when the coroner informs him that there is clear evidence of murder. At frequent points in his investigation he meets for dinner with his Aunt Emilie who had taught the Lafarge children and they discuss the case and her insights into the children’s characters while he devours the rustic feasts she prepares for him.
“Aunt Emilie and Rimbaud make for a wonderful double-act and I really enjoyed reading these passages. Though Rimbaud may be doing all of the leg work and acting in an official capacity, Emilie is able to steer his actions through suggestion and does have some real, credible insight into the participants in the mystery.
“One particularly fun aspect of these sequences is that at each dinner Rimbaud will advance a theory about a different family member’s guilt based on the evidence that demonstrates how the murder was achieved, a fire set some hours later and the room was locked. Each is convincing, well thought-through and plausible in the way they address the issue of timing – yet clearly they cannot all be correct.
“While the seasoned locked room reader will take note of some clues to identify the killer, possibly even having some idea of how the murder was done, I think the details of the method are clever and original. The book did keep me engaged until the end.
“Ekemar has a pleasing and engaging writing style and does an excellent job of establishing and building up his characters. The characters of each of the children are quite intriguing and he takes the trouble to build them detailed personal lives that will provide motives for murder. I enjoyed learning about each of them and their secrets. In one of my favorite subplots, we see two of the characters’ secret personal lives collide while the siblings are at their family home, unaware of this development. I enjoyed these scenes enormously.
“I think that the simplicity of this crime is one of the novel’s virtues and appreciated that the book does not outstay its welcome. The solution is wonderfully fair, with all of the necessary elements clearly established beforehand, and it is easy to follow.
“The Patricide is a very cleverly constructed locked-room mystery and I appreciated the challenge of figuring out just how it was done.”
– MysteriesAhoy.com Reviews