Cezanne's Quarry: A Mystery

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9781933648835: Cezanne's Quarry: A Mystery
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Investigating the strangling murder of a mysterious young woman in Aix-en-Provence, inexperienced magistrate Bernard Martin finds the case hampered by local beliefs that the woman deserved her fate because of her relationship with a radical Darwinian scholar.

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About the Author:

Barbara Corrado Pope is a historian and the founding director of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oregon. She is the author of the novels Cézanne’s Quarry and The Blood of Lorraine.  Barbara lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her husband.

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In fewer than 400 pages, first-time novelist Pope skillfully explores the subjugation and abuse of women in the nineteenth century; the injustices of the French legal system; the conflict between Darwinian philosophy and established religious belief; and Cézanne’s art, love life, and depressed personality. She also weaves a fascinating murder mystery into these diverse thematic threads, forming an intriguing portrait of the painter’s life in Provence and how others might have perceived him. A body is found in a quarry near Aix—the lovely Solange Vernet, object of Cézanne’s unrequited love and the paramour of Darwinian scholar Charles Westbury. Unfortunately, the summer holiday leaves only a skeleton law-enforcement crew in place, among them the inexperienced, timid magistrate Bernard Martin and his callous detective assistant, Franc, who unceremoniously hauls in Westbury and Cézanne for questioning. Both investigators believe this crime of passion points to a lover spurned—but which one? With a bleak view of humanity similar to Émile Zola’s, this story of tortured love and repressed violence resembles Iain Pears at his darkest and Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s The Flanders Panel (1994) in tone and thematic depth. --Jen Baker

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