I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Night Gate by Peter May on my blog today. With thanks to Sophie Ransom from Midas PR for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.
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.
Events that have led to both killings.
The Night Gate by Peter May, the seventh book in his Enzo case files series, is such a fascinating read. It’s also really engaging. In 2020, decades after the end of World War Two, a man’s body, from the time of the Second World War, is discovered. And not long after the grim discovery, a famous art critic is killed. While the world is coping with a pandemic, Enzo is asked to help investigate the death of the man found decades after his death. But what connection does this have to the recent murder? And what connection do the murders have to the Mona Lisa?
I have to admit that this is the first book by Peter May which I have read and I am kicking myself now that I haven’t got round to reading his books sooner. I definitely will be going back and reading the earlier books in this series.
As the investigations in the present day develop, Peter May takes us back to when the Germans occupied France. There is increasing pressure to protect the country’s most treasured possessions from falling into the hands of the Nazis. One of these prizes, which Hitler is keen to procure, is the Mona Lisa. France goes to extraordinary lengths to protect it.
I found it really fascinating when Peter May goes back to the time. The story has such an interesting hook with the Mona Lisa. There were so many people involved in making sure that the world’s most famous painting stays safe; people are willing to put their lives on the line to protect it. Even the Nazis don’t want to just barge in and taking, fearing the international scandal it would cause. Peter May captures the tension that existed at this time so well.
The novel is also set in 2020 at the time of the pandemic. I was put off slightly by this when I first started reading it. I know that many readers may not want to read a novel set during this time, but it didn’t become an issue as the story progressed. I actually thought it was good for the character development as we see how Enzo’s family has been affected over the course of the last year. It makes the story feel very real, as well.
I loved how both of the story lines were weaved together. I wanted to find out how what happened in the past was connected to the events in the present. It’s what makes the novel so gripping, and I flew through it. The pace never drops. The dual timeline is what makes this book particularly gripping, and Peter May weaves them together with incredible skill.
The Night Gate is very cleverly and plotted, and I loved how Peter May brought everything together as the truth behind both murders is revealed. A highly engrossing read.
Publication date: 18th March 2021
Print length: 496 pages
The Night Gate is available to buy:
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