Sunday, December 16, 2012

Another reason to love Argelès


The children gathered by the church to see Père Noël climb down from the top of the 13th century church steeple.

It did cross my mind if he fell, it would traumatize them forever.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Yuletide

I am so excited...I've a real live Christmas tree in my flat in Argeles for the FIRST TIME EVER. In the 25 years I've owned the place I've never been here for Christmas.

There are many Christmases where there's been artificial trees and when you're in someone else's home they have their own traditions and it is always a joy to share them. I do sneak in one evergreen branch for yuletide, the winter solstice, which is more Christmas for me than Christmas.In fact the season without that one bit of evergreen brought him for outside means the meaning of the season wouldn't exist for me.

I still rejoice in all the other parts of the celebrations, the goodies baked by my housemate, the exchange of gifts, the good food, the feeling of good will.

Not every year do I get the chance to use the ornaments my daughter and I made when she was three. Hers are not painted neatly and that makes them all the more precious. I made sure She had been given the blue wooden clock for her own collection.

I never put lights on. And I definitely do not use the real candles that many Europeans do. At one time I made snow out of Ivory flakes but now I use cotton placed on each branch. Granted I don't like artificial things but real snow in my flat even if it were available . . . well, I don't think so . . . warm and cozy is better indoors. Authenticity can be carried too far.

This year they'll be a series of mini Christmases...my love will be here and we will celebrate before we go to Geneva when there will be another mini Christmas with my housemate's boys. Then she and I are planning a pj holiday with maybe DVDs and whatever calm we can think of . . . and hopefully there'll still be her brownies. A no mess, no fuss day.

We have plans for Boxing Day with our Brit neighbours which will be more traditional and when my daughter comes from Scotland in January we'll celebrate three birthdays together followed by a mini Christmas with her back in Geneva.

I found the tree at one of the local florists, a bit bigger than I wanted, but she offered to deliver it. Because it is a living tree in a pot, I can put it outside adding to the ambiance of my well-flowered street.

Tis the season to be jolly and I am sooooooooooooooooo happy.






Thursday, December 06, 2012

Cuisine Chaos




Normally, I’m a relaxed hostess and well prepared.

Today was the annual apple pie lunch for three friends, B, L and R. Normally we do it in September, but it had been postponed while I was in Geneva.

Despite a tiny, tiny, tiny kitchen I had everything worked out mentally for the meal to be prepared with little effort leaving the kitchen clean and me relaxed by the time my friends arrived. It was not to be.

The menu:
·         Couscous with olives, raisons, pecans, coriander and parsley
·         Chicken slow cooked in Mid Eastern spices
·         Green beans al dente and sautéed in olive oil, fresh garlic and tomatoes.
·         Champagne to celebrate that they are great friends
·         Home made apple pie New England style

Last night, I thought I’d get a head start. I set the table and thought I’d bake the apple pie. 

Wrong. I was out of sugar.

Early this morning I was at the corner store and confessed to Babette, from whom I’d bought the apples yesterday, I was out of sugar. She was out of normal sugar. Another sugar was too powdery, but I was happy with the red sugar.

Back home the Crisco pie crust had never been easier to roll out. The apples almost fell into the pan. The crust decoration worked first time. I felt smug.

I put the pie in the oven, cleaned up all the pie making stuff and started to roll the chicken in the spices…just like any winning Master Chef contestant, I thought.

Then I peeked at the oven. The top of the pie was the colour of charcoal. I didn’t check the oven setting and I had broiled my pie. A couple of people had stayed in my flat, and I suspect one of them changed the setting.

Arghhhhhhhhhh…

I replaced the crust and cleaned up again and went back to mixing the spices. I had replenished all my Mid Eastern and Indian spices before I left. None were to be found. Had I checked the day before, I could have bought fresh spices from my spice man on the marché.

Back to the cornerstore. Babette tried hard not to laugh as I explained my predicament. 

Fortunately she had what I needed saving a several block walk.

I wanted to take a photo of the mess, but my camera batteries were dead. 

To speed the clean up of the Crisco in the measuring cup I used boiling water. Three minutes later for a reason that can only be called stupidity I picked up the cup spilling the almost boiling water on my hand.

I now had one hour to prepare an hour and half meal.

I would like to stay the rest went smoothly…I can say it by not mentioning the heavy pan I dropped on my foot.

My guests arrived.

When the four of us together, we laugh, share wisdom won at great prices, catch up on ordinary news, extraordinary news, check our sense of reality . . . what friends do.

The meal was late, but good.

And the broiled pie with the substitute crust.

My friend B. said it was the best I’d ever made. Maybe the secret is broiling the first crust.


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Life of the writer

Despite being December, the sun was strong enough that L and I could sit outside the café drinking our chocolat chaud, notebooks and pens ready.

Our first target was a woman, probably retired, with a pink scarf and blue beret. "Go," I said.

We wrote for ten minutes. She wrote about the woman who was signing divorce papers. I made the woman buy a colorful house  after her beige husband died, playing on the love of color.

We read them to each other. Well at least we were different this time. When we'd met Saturday and wrote about dog we saw, we'd both named the pup Max.

The second were two men, one black and one overweight. I created a potential murder where the black man had been hired by the fat man to do away with the fat man's wife. She had them boyhood friends, but we both had one of the characters names Jacques.

Then we saw the mailman. She wrote about how he wanted to see inside the letters he delivered, my piece showed his regrets that postmen no longer have uniforms.

The sky was an incredible blue. A few leaves were still on the tree in the middle of the table.

We set up a date for our next writing session. Living the writer's life like this is the fulfillment of a childhood dream.


Saturday, December 01, 2012

Signs

Ok, Argelès has lots of anglophones and other foreign tourists and often shops, restaurants and real estate agents post "English Spoken Here" or "German Spoken Here" etc.

Today I saw a shop with sign in English. "Here French is Spoken."

I need to check that one out.


Friday, November 09, 2012

My first pasty

After years of reading about Cornish pasties, I finally was able to buy a veggie one in Brighton UK train station. Good.

Sign outside shop

Thank you for enjoying your ice cream before you come in to visit us.

How nicely put.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Squishy friends

I always loved Gloria Steinem's "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." I found with one exception, that whenever I was in a relationship the quality of my life went down with the exception of the 11 years with a lovely Swiss gentlemen, but that worked because we lived in different cantons and saw each other SOME weekends.

I also admit when ever I saw a couple in a bad relationship, I thought "Thank God, it isn't me." And when I saw a happy couple in a good working relationship, I thought, "I'm glad they're happy and thank God it isn't me." I loved my life as a single. I loved living in two countries. I loved living alone in one and sharing a home with a widow and sometimes her son in the other. My life was as close to perfect as it is possible to get.

Thus when a man, whom I'd met 34 years before, reappeared, I wasn't prepared. Despite a strong attraction back then circumstances were not right. We were friends then drifted apart.

However, this time, there was a cascade of emotions. Different countries made the distance seem safe but 10 days together kinda wiped out that safety zone.

I expected my friends to talk sense into me. What happened. They went all squishy on me.

One said, "Good, I can buy a hat for the wedding?" even though I had never mentioned marriage.

Another, seeing us enter a jewelry store, rushed in hoping we were shopping for diamond. We weren't. It was chain to go with the beautiful pendant that had our combined birth stones that he gave me. Yes, he is a romantic. She keeps asking if she can be my bridesmaid.

Then my housemate asks me to Skype him. When he answers she tells him "We're all routing for you. Even my sister in California is." Then she looked at me. "Donna-Lane is blushing. I've never seen her blush."

Likewise a friend in Argeles who was positive she wouldn't like him, thinks he's great.

Come to think of it, he is great. We are meeting up in a third country next week to see where he might live and work so we can spend more time together.

Trite as the cliché is, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." He's laughing but so am I.




Saturday, November 03, 2012

Walk


This is leaf-kicking weather and as I walked through the forest near the chalet, there were plenty to kick. Made me want to jump in a pile of them as I did when I was little, but raking them was too low on my priority list to make this memory come alive.

The sunshine, the view of the mountains and the valley, the huge moss covered rocks, the pine trees, a woodpecker drilling his little heart out and the only slight bite of air on my cheeks were all pluses on this get away week.

I passed an older man. He was bald and used two hiking sticks. He smiled and said what a beautiful day it was. I told him that being inside was against the law. He laughed and agreed.

We went in our opposite directions.


Thursday, November 01, 2012

Casting the first stone


Or the 20th stone. It has nothing to do with sin and sinning. On the drive up to the mountains, my housemate and I passed tree after tree covered with the recent snowfall.

There was a light breeze and the snow will filter down like so a diamond fall.

We got out and I had the idea if  I threw a stone and hit a branch then the snow would fall and she could snap the photo. Right?

Wrong.

I have a lousy throwing arm and my aim is worse. Stone after stone missed it marked.

Finally she held the camera with one hand and threw a stone with the other and caught what she wanted on the camera.

She must have been a baseball player in an earlier incarnation.


Monday, October 29, 2012

A voice for peace



Almost 12 years ago Saudi and Egyptian individuals boarded three planes. Using box cutters they managed to kill about 3,000 people from 82 countries.

In retaliation the US has spent trillions of dollars in attacking countries Afghanistan and Iraq. 

The death toll, theirs and the US’s is unknown but far greater than the original.

The dying goes on. Children are being born mutilated in Iraq likely caused by the uranium depleted bullets.

Soldiers are thanked by a grateful nation.

Congress refused to pass a job bills to help returning veterans showing their gratitude.

The Veterans Administration takes months or years to give veterans the help they need upping the already high suicide rate for returning veterans showing their gratitude.

Americans are told that the terrorists hate the US freedoms, but the government took away Habeas Corpus from Americans in the Patriot Act and the NDAA.

Americans now have no freedom from government spying.

Americans stand to lose things like SS, Medicare etc., but defense continues to grow. The US military budget is the largest in the world and almost larger than the rest of the world combined. The second largest military budget is Australia, obviously a great danger to the US. Maybe they should put those tanks on planes to protect Americans from box cutters.

America continues to kill civilians in drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.


Maybe the US would be safer if they stopped terrorising others.

Maybe less mothers, sisters, brothers, children, fathers would not mourn the loss of their loved ones if the US worked as hard for peace as it does for death. Maybe the money not spent on killing others might be used to help its own citizens.

Maybe

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fantasy day

When it was hot during the summer, I fantasized today.

We woke to a wind where the trees bent over and the garden furniture took short flights. The lake is dressed in white caps.



I'm dressed in sweat pants and my Napier University sweat shirt, drinking a cup of Maine blueberry tea, a gift from visitors. More tea to come.

Plans include a Sunday brunch of eggs, bacon, roesti and coffee. There are rumours that brownies will be made.

Munchkin asked to go out but backed up when we opened the door and headed for the basement kitty litter muttering.

Fire in the fire place is also on the agenda.

Does it get better than this?

Yup...

This is also my favourite day of the year when we put the clocks back, although they all read the old time. Around five we will act surprized that today's the day and marvel we've been given an extra hour of life on this wonderful day.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Finder strikes again

I've two pair of bunny/heart pjs. One is pink, the other is lavender. As a colour freak I've matching bed socks and I also try to colour co-ordinate any undershirts worn on cold nights. These pjs are thick flannel, perfect for snuggling under the covers.

Coming back from Edinburgh tired and with a miserable cold, I put on one pair and climbed into my preheated bed. Only in the morning did I discover I had a lavender bottom and pink top. Rainbow meltdown.

When I looked into my closet, which for once was in perfect order having arranged it before leaving for the UK, I couldn't find the match. I checked laundry, undid and redid the closet.

The only thing left to do was to call in ... wait... imagine trumpets

THE FINDER

The Finder, aka my housemate, does not wear special tights, capes, masks. Nor does she rush into telephone booths to change (what will Superman do now that mobile phones are doing away with phone boxes?). Her reputation is legend with holding up lost rings, watches, glasses, underwear, even money unable to miss her eagle search light. Dressed in her regular slacks, top and neck scarf, she went to work going through the places I'd searched.

She also has the technique of asking questions that would do a detective proud.

Then she started tearing apart my bed.

Voilà. The missing bottom that I had kicked of when I became too hot in the middle of the night and under my pillow the missing top that I had put there to wear again and had forgotten in the interim of my UK stay.

And the best part of The Finder. She only laughs about it not at me.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Edinburgh cow

No self respecting Swiss cow would ever be in this position.

Strange


Damn. There was a white line on my camera. The tour Llara and I took to the Isle of Skye stopped so we could capture the rugged landscape.

I moved the camera and the white line disappeared.

Then I moved it again and it reappeared.

I showed Llara. "A Scottish ghost."

"Nah..." I said. I snapped the photo at the white shape which was no longer a straight line but a soft wavy glow. IT did not appear.

"Weird," I said.

"A ghost," Llara said.

My kid did it

I know it is blurry, but that's my kid walking across the stage at Usher Hall in Edinburgh on her way to pick up her "parchment" that says she has a Master of Science in Human Resources. Me proud. You betcha.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mammogram



The see-your breath temperature is a pleasure after the too hot summer as I wait for the pre-dawn bus to take me into the city. When it comes it is filled with a few businessmen trying to beat colleagues into the office and high school kids on their way to the Lycée founded by Jean Calvin 500+ years ago.

The curriculum is modernized from the old Latin, Greek, Bible and Hebrew of Calvin’s time. One sun-bleached blond teenager sits in the aisle, her notebook on her lap finishing her math homework by copying answers from long exercises onto a single sheet. I’m always impressed by the notebook system of French schools and how neat the work is.

The lake is changing colour from dark gray to light gray as the bus passes it. The Jet d’Eau is not on yet.
I’ve allowed time to try a Pumpkin Spice Latté and pumpkin muffin at Starbucks before my appointment. I read the Tribune de Genève, finding the plans to substitute train service in some areas with buses and the story of a robber who dressed as a bank employee complete with badge allowing him code access, interesting.

“24 juillet 1942” I tell the receptionist at La Maternité. I know the drill. I’m a birthdate more than a patient.

“Follow the yellow line, first floor.” She hands me a sheet of labels coded with my medical history.

I don’t have long to wait. 

“Pourquoi six mois?” The technician asks after telling me to strip to the waist.

I tell her that I’m not taking the after-cancer medication, which is why I allow my breasts to be pressed into rectangles twice a year as a compromise. I don’t regret my decision. My joints no longer ache and morning sicknesses at my age was unwelcomed. The survival stats with my type of cancer, my stage, my treatment were not that different for those that followed the plan and those that did not.

The pressing over the doctor tells me I’m clean. Although I had a thermographie last month telling me the same thing, I’m relieved. A routine worry niggles at strange times.

On the way home I get off a couple of stops before mine to walk by the vineyards and watch the pickers with their metal baskets on their backs. The vendage is far from completed with many of the vines still heavy with grapes. A truck heaped to the brim with purple fruit is parked to the side and one of the pickers adds his bounty to the pile.

The lake is now in full colour. The leaves are yellowing, not the brilliant colours of my native New England but beautiful.

It is 10:45 and each moment of my morning has been filled with tiny delights and I’m so grateful for the Swiss medical system. I’m so grateful for being alive and able to be surrounded by so many sensations.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Surprize rainbow



Both my housemate and I had what the French call a white night. She's jet lagged from her flight from California. I slept hard for an hour and woke and couldn't fall back. Thus sleep alluded both of us.


In the morning we staggered into the hall between our rooms to exchange greeting grunts rather than our usual cheery "good mornings".

We did accomplish our usual morning tasks, let the cat out, let the cat in, make breakfast. 

I was starting my writing at my work station in my bedroom and she came back upstairs to get dressed. 

She called me to come quick. I crossed the hall into her bedroom and looked out over the lake. 

The Jura were hidden in gray clouds, but breaking through in the upper left hand of the sky was a 20% piece of a rainbow.

Who needs the pot of gold at the end? 

Not us.

Colour conversation

Her dark long hair and deep brown eyes reminded me of No. 2 son's girl friend as I sat down on the bench beside her to wait for the No. 5 bus.

What I also noticed even more were her beautiful mauve boots. I couldn't help but compliment her on them. Since French was both our second language we switched to English.

"I saw them in a store and it was a done deal," she said. "In Geneva everything is so gray."

We looked around. 95% of the cars were gray or black. Almost everyone had on gray or black clothes.

We spied one little boy in a sky blue sweat shirt and a woman in a hot pink jacket. Those were the only colours on the street.

I told her my theory that Geneva, Genève, Genf, gray, gris, grau all start with "g" for a reason. She nodded.

The number 10 tram came and she hoped on and I watched her mauve boots disappear as the doors closed behind her.

If I'd seen those boots it would have been a done deal too.

Monday, October 01, 2012

from www.Stretcher.com

 
 
 
I love this newsletter with lots of tips on saving money. I've enjoyed 
my European Christmases with each person trying to give one thoughtful gift.
But I loved this idea.
 
My Story: Recycled Christmas
contributed by Lorrie
How one family changed their Christmas
 
Frugal and green living has always been important to me. An
area that used to concern me for both reasons was the
Christmas gift-giving process. The insane obsession of finding
the right gifts (and lots of them) and then watching the huge
pile of discarded Christmas wrapping paper grow made me crazy.
So, a few years back, I decided to offer a new idea to my
grown children (now with little ones of their own). Everyone
agreed to holding our first "Recycled Christmas."
 
The rules of the "Recycled Christmas" were as follows:
 
1. All gifts had to be pre-owned or made from
recycled/recyclable materials in some way. It was okay if
someone purchased a new, even unopened item from a yard or
other secondhand sale or store. Items that came from a natural
source, such as honey, jams or jellies made from wild or
homegrown sources, nuts picked from a tree, dried herbs, etc.
were all just fine. They were especially good if they were
packaged in secondhand jars or other containers. Craft items
made from recycled items were also acceptable.
 
2. Each person was required to submit a list of items that
they would be okay with receiving from pre-used sources. This
list needed to be available sometime before the end of summer
(to allow for yard/garage sale purchases). Like the entire
"Recycled Christmas" idea, gift selection is more time
consuming than the traditional "run into the store and grab
something" method, as it requires really giving thought to the
person you are giving. My feeling on the time investment is
that thinking about my loved one and their interests and likes
is an important part of the process. So, I don't mind
investing a bit of extra time (plus, I love yard sales!). I
also found that I was able to streamline my time expenditure
by using eBay, Etsy, and other such online services.
 
3. All gifts must be packaged in containers that were made
from recycled materials and/or were recyclable. Gift bags
could be made of any type of recycled fabric (pretty
pillowcases tied at the top with ribbon don't require any
sewing and are great for larger packages). Any type of jar or
tin could be used (I especially like popcorn cans because they
are pretty and stackable for storage). Wrapping paper could be
made out of decorated paper bags, newspaper, or brown packing
paper. Gallon metal cans, decorated with ribbon or paint,
could be turned into buckets and covered with recycled tissue
paper from other gifts. Even kitty litter buckets could be
decorated to serve as great wrappers.
 
4. During the holiday gift-giving gathering, we would all
share where and how we got great deals on items that were
purchased, traded for, and sometimes even found for free. Now,
I know it is not traditional to reveal such secrets, but this
part of the process helped us to realize how we can be quite
frugal and earth-friendly while still giving great gifts that
people really want. It also  allowed us each to share lots of
creative ideas.
 
As we set out on our "Recycled Christmas" idea, each family
could set a budget for how much they would spend per person
and then buy gifts accordingly (something anyone on a budget
should do anyway). The other option was to simply try to find
the best deal on a special gift for each person (and maybe
save a little money in the process). For our first "Recycled
Christmas," we all pretty much went with the first idea, which
resulted in us all (there were seven of us at the time)
spending over four hours opening gifts. Everyone got lots of
things they wanted, but it turned out to be a bit
overwhelming. The next year, we opted to go with the second
idea of just looking for a nice gift at the best price
possible. This was more fun and resulted in some really
creative thinking.
 
Creativity flourished with our "Recycled Christmas." There
have been great buys from yard sales, flea markets,
Craigslist, etc., including CDs and DVDs, an entire set of
depression glass, lots of tools (and toolbox), fishing gear, a
vintage breadbox, great clothing, Wii games and accessories, a
television wall mount, books, and lots of toys. Our families'
crafting skills rendered lovely aprons and dish towels from
recycled fabrics, functional coupon holders (with coupons
including some for free items), homemade beeswax candles in
baby food jars, and Italian-themed artwork. My daughter even
made stockings for each family member that reflected that
persons interests from recycled shirts or sweaters. Some gifts
have been traded for, resulting in no expense whatsoever, such
as an entire set of cast iron cookware (skillets for my
daughter-in-law and a Dutch oven and griddle for me from our
wish lists) for a set of DVDs. This summer, an end of the day
yard sale allowed me to get a huge lot of Thomas the Train
engines, cards, and tracks in a nice Rubbermaid bin for $5.
This allowed for me to prepare a wonderful gift for one of our
grandsons and sell the excess pieces on eBay (to help pay for
this and other gifts). Other freebies have come from "curb
alerts," including a barely used paper shredder and electric
ice cream maker.
 
Now, I know that this idea isn't for everyone, but if your
family will buy in, it can save everyone money and result in
some really enjoyable holiday experiences for all, while
caring a bit more for our planet.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Where does the time go?

The days are much too short and it doesn't have much to do with it being autumn.

Between the newsletter, wonderful guests, getting Murder in Insel Poel ready for my publisher (where did all those typos come from and shouldn't that paragraph be tightened, that sentence polished a bit more?) the days seem about an hour long.

I am thinking ahead to the next book. We have tickets to go to the UK combining the research trip with Llara's graduation and a bit more moseying around Scotland. I'm itching to start something new.

None of this is a complaint. I wouldn't change my life for anything. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happiness is

Hearing my daughter say, "My dissertation was accepted." Onto graduation at Napier University in Edinburgh. I was proud of her before, even prouder now...Also guilty of really, really liking my kid.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

haiku


The last summer rose
drops its petals in the sink
Bright red on silver

A surprize


There is something wonderful about having the gate bell ring and finding a delivery man handing me this bouquet. I should be smiling all day and then some. Happy anniversary back at ya...

Take me, please


Sunday, September 09, 2012

The road not taken


A long time ago I was talking with a non-cousin...he had my mother's maiden name and we claim kinship despite my mother's family leaving the UK around 1635 and his is still there...

The subject of Robert Frost's The Road not Taken was brought up and I said it was one of my favourite poems.

Imagine my surprise and delight is too mild a world when for my 70th birthday I was given a compass whose top had the Frost poem engraved in the cover.

Truly a mind boggling/gobsmacked present that words of appreciation do not begin to match.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The ugly hallway

The entrance in Argelès for a long time was ugly. Like most of the houses in the region unless the ground floor was heated, damp caused the walls to flake. Last year we had the walls treated and tiled. Great improvement.

But still as soon as you entered and went up the stairs there were two white doors hiding the electrical boxes.

Maybe not ugly but certainly boring.

Luckily, the British set designer Chris Floyd has a summer home down the street. The outside of his house (I'll get a photo later and post it) is alive with his murals. He agreed to paint a mural to hide the doors. The most clever part is the lamp post in this very Agelesian scen hides the wooden piece between the two doors.

Thank you Chris.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review

Waiting for reviews is always scarey. This one is more of a summary but the last sentence is a whew moment.


Kirkus Review 9/1/12
This title publishes OCT 2012
A young freelance writer who specializes in history must solve both a very old puzzle and a brand new murder. Multicultural Annie’s third (Murder in Argeles, 2011, etc.) presents a pretty puzzle on two levels, past and present.
****************************************
Kirkus Reviews, www.kirkusreviews.com

MURDER IN GENEVA
Author: Nelson, D-L

Review Issue Date: September 1, 2012
Online Publish Date: August 21, 2012
Publisher:Five Star
Pages: 348
Price ( Hardcover ): $25.95
Publication Date: October 19, 2012
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-4328-2616-1
Category: Fiction
Classification: Mystery
A young freelance writer who specializes in history must solve both a very old puzzle and a brand new murder.
Annie Young arrives in Geneva to find her friend Mireille pregnant by Dr. Urs Stoller, her brilliant but much disliked thesis advisor. No one is terribly upset when Stoller’s body washes up on the lakeshore. His wife, a chemist, is more concerned about problems with the blood thinner she’s working on and the fact that her lover is moving his family from England. Stoller, who was not above stealing work from his graduate students, has even given Mireille false information about some old drawings she’d asked him to appraise. Annie’s in town to work on a catalog for a big sale a local auction house is hosting, but she gladly takes on the task of tracking down the artist who executed Mireille’s drawings, a woman struggling to express herself in the restrictive Calvinist society of 16th-century Geneva. Annie’s fiancé, Roger Perret, a French police chief on an exchange program in Geneva, is at odds with the local police, who arrest Stoller’s wife for his murder. Also in Geneva are Annie’s American parents, who have taken in Stoller’s teenage son, a longtime pal of Annie’s, while their determined daughter works to help find a killer and uncover the fate of the talented young woman whose story so fascinates her.
Multicultural Annie’s third (Murder in Argeles, 2011, etc.) presents a pretty puzzle on two levels, past and present.