20 August 2009

Cupid’s Arrow

by Isabelle Merlin

Random House Australia. Australian, Crime, Mystery, Young Adult. Paperback rrp $17.95

Sixteen year-old Fleur travels to France with her mother, Anne, to help catalogue and return to Australia a rare library inherited from world-famous author, Raymond Dulac. Dulac specialised in King Arthur. Anne never met Dulac but dealt with him over the internet selling him books from her small boutique bookstore in Australia. They became good friends over the years and he had occasionally sent both Anne and Fleur small gifts.

As much as Fleur and Anne are saddened by the mysterious murder of Raymond they find much to keep them occupied in the small town of Avallon and Dulac’s home, Bellerive. For Anne it is cataloguing the enormous amount of books, from rare first editions, to historical reference books, through to the spiritual. For Fleur it is Remy. The unusual but beautiful 17 year-old boy who lives in the woods with his hermit mother.

Fleur unwittingly discovers a dream book, seemingly written and illustrated by Dulac. The dreams in it mimic the strange dreams Fleur has been having. Is it a coincidence? Fleur starts investigating her own theories but when a private investigator hired by Dulac is murdered, Fleur looks to Remy for help.

With a romance blossoming the two teenagers set out on a journey of discovery – their own dreams, the dream book, the two murders and King Arthur.

The next murder is more personal and Fleur fears for her own life. What is so important that someone would kill for?

Cupid’s Arrow is the third book by Merlin and like Three Wishes and Pop Princess it has success firmly stamped on the cover. It’s great writing – but I have to say it - the covers are too cute for the stories! There is nothing light about these storylines. All three books are about murder, intrigue, mystery and twists that keep you guessing who the killer is until the end.

Those who have been following my reviews on Merlin will know that my 13 year-old daughter and I are both big fans. We fought over the first two of Merlin’s books but Cupid’s Arrow I quickly hid from her and devoured first. When she caught me reading it her first words were “Does someone die?” … my answer, “In the first 3 pages!” “Cool!”

Now we have to wait until April 2010 for Merlin’s fourth book Bright Angel. Three Wishes and Pop Princess were reviewed in issues 9 and 17 respectively of The Reading Stack.


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