M.L. Longworth is a Canadian author known for writing detective novels set in France. She went to university in Toronto, the same place where she was born in 1963. She married her husband in 1989. After driving across the United States in an orange van, they settled in Northern California.
Longworth’s husband, an IT professional, worked for a Silicone valley company, though he wasn’t the biggest fan of his bosses. The author’s obsession with France was birthed in 1996. Longworth was on vacation in the country with her husband and daughter.
After one week in Paris (and another in Provence), the trio should have gone home. But Longworth changed everything. It all began with an internet search. The family was eating sandwiches in Santa Cruz when Longworth decided to look for jobs in France.
To her astonishment, she found a company that wanted a webmaster that could speak French and English. Her husband was a perfect fit. The company in question was located in a quaint town called Gemenos near the Mediterranean Sea.
They had to visit it for her husband to undertake his interview. Longworth loved every minute of her stay. Her three-year-old daughter was just as happy. Once her husband secured the job, the couple was initially frightened by the notion of suddenly moving to France, especially on such short notice.
And yet, in 1997, they packed their bags, said goodbye to their friends, and left the US for Gemenos. Life in the town was initially quite pleasant. It was during their stay in Gemenos that the author wrote an essay for Bon Appetite, the magazine.
Things became difficult in the family’s second year. Longworth struggled and ultimately failed to master the French language. This made life in the town somewhat challenging. The couple was contemplating the notion of living France when ownership of their cottage changed hands, driving the family to downtown Aix.
Life in Aix was much better. Longworth had neighbors whose French she could actually understand. And once her daughter started school, she found that she had plenty of time to write. The author started by producing essays for various publications.
She sold enough of them to carve out a career for herself as a freelance writer. Over time, she grew impatient with the duration it always took for editors to reply to her queries. Sometimes, they did not even bother to reply.
It took Longworth a while to realize that she was partly to blame for the disinterest her queries occasionally attracted. While she was passionate about her essays, she had a tendency to pursue ideas that she personally found interesting as a European. And yet she was making submissions to American publications that did not care for the topics of her essays.
This induced frustration in M.L. Longworth, which is why she eventually turned her attention to fiction. It took the writer a while to complete her first novel. It went through several rewrites before she landed an agent who introduced her to the people at Penguin.
Best M.L. Longworth Books
It took the author some time to transition from nonfiction to fiction. She struggled to incorporate dialog into her stories and to make it flow organically, though she eventually succeeded. Some of her best novels include:
1). Death at the Chateau Bremont
The people of Aix-en-Provence are proud of their idyllic town because it is so peaceful. They are forced to change their perception when Etienne de Bremont dies. The nobleman appears to have fallen to his death.
But Antoine, the chief magistrate, isn’t convinced. When he learns that Bonnet, his girlfriend, was close to Etienne, Antoine asks her for help. It doesn’t take the pair long to realize that their town is filled with people that would have benefited from the victim’s death.
Antoine and Bonnet’s case takes an interesting turn when another person dies. But this time, they know for certain that it was murder.
2). Murder in the Rue Dumas
Professor Moutte is dead, and unfortunately, plenty of people at the university had good reasons to want him dead. Moutte was on the verge of announcing the recipient of a fellowship. If that wasn’t enough, the director was on his way out.
Before he left, he was expected to announce his replacement. The candidate would have inherited Moutte’s coveted apartment. Antoine knows that the students and teachers had every reason to murder Moutte. But he needs Bonnet’s help to whittle the suspect list down.