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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Death by Baguette: A Valentine's Day Murder in Paris by Jennifer S. Alderson is the second book in the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery series. After her last tour in Budapest had a murderous subplot, everything is looking up for Lana Hansen. She has a new boyfriend named Chad and her latest tour is taking them to Paris, France. But the trip quickly goes downhill. Her closest friends, Willow and Jane, are having problems in their marriage and hope that this romantic getaway can help them work through their issues. Too bad they don't stop bickering long enough to talk and keep dragging Lana into the middle. In a twist of fate, Lana runs into her new boyfriend on the trip – with his wife in tow. Turns out her Mr. Right is Mr. All Wrong and Chad turns out to be more of a Casanova than Lana could have guessed. When he ends up dead, she has to clear her own name of murder and catch the culprit by digging up all of Chad's secrets.
This humorous and heartfelt story is a character-driven mystery that takes a deadly turn. The stunning location provides a great backdrop with a hint of irony as Lana discovers she is dating a cheater, the couples on the trip spend most of the time bickering, and a murder. The city of love is quickly filled with lies and this offsets the drama of the couples while also weaving in some stunning locations. Each of the couples has a huge personality that Lana has to learn how to navigate around while trying to encourage them to enjoy their vacations which is key to how Jennifer S. Alderson crafts these characters. The story is rooted in the reconnecting and rekindling of relationships (though not all are salvageable) with each couple facing some form of drama. Alderson seamlessly weaves in humorous undertones through the bickering, Lana's attitude, and her having to train a new guide. Mystery lovers will enjoy Death by Baguette for its charming setting, endearing characters, dramatic flair, and character-driven storytelling.