A Patchwork of Old Spies
A drug trade operation appears to go awry and two undercover agents, Gunther and Heidi, head to Chipley Island. Zach and Jodie Warren, two of the fourteen retired espionage experts who call the island their home, are not too thrilled that the agents have chosen their haven for protection. Yet they, along with the remaining retired spies, get involved to piece together the truth behind Operation Seagull. There are way too many unrelated clues and a slew of red herrings, however, which call for intense problem solving—a time for Jodie to resurrect the program from her old Patches mission. But trying to figure out “how a South American drug business, a Far Eastern gang, and…a Russian op named Polaris,” fit together, for example, is far more complicated and extremely riskier than the retirees think—especially when they’re invaded.
With a slew of published works under her belt, Gini Anding’s latest espionage novel takes readers into the strange and mysterious world of retired spies—at least the ones on Chipley Island. Once again featuring husband and wife agents, Zach and Jodie, as principal characters (from A Case for Old Spies), Anding includes a large, but intricately designed, cast of retired spies and other colorful protagonists and antagonists set within the confines of a tight community. Of particular interest is the way Anding punctuates each character (spy or otherwise) with his/her detailed credentials in bold lettering throughout her third-person narrative. That writing style not only helps readers wrap their heads around Anding’s hefty cast, but also identifies how each character is related to the other in some fashion.
As Anding continues to introduce each cast member, she slowly, but deftly, unfolds her storyline. Key to plot building, Anding creates the most interesting character conversations. Intertwined with geopolitics and its behind-the-scene connections with intelligent activity, dialogues are filled with a combination of reality, bumbling lame comments, and ad nauseam yet hilarious statements—all compactly laced within black comedy and action-packed who’s-done-it, game-of-Clue-like adventure. In addition, Anding also keeps her narrative flowing by including cliffhangers at the close of chapters and a whole stream of unexpected scene changes.
There is no doubt in this reviewer’s mind that A Patchwork of Old Spies is one read that is truly an unforgettable one of its kind.
—Anita Lock, San Francisco Book Review
Now here is a rip-roaring good spy novel. It fits the standard definition of a ‘cozy,’ a novel sub-genre in which the action takes place in a tight and intimate community, and where violence and sex are downplayed or treated humorously. It also gives readers the opportunity to try to figure it all out by themselves, often working up to a totally unanticipated conclusion.
This ‘patchwork’ spy novel is rich in detail, clever in plot and place, smart in character development, and you’ll be surprised at how rapidly it heats up at the end.
The old spies of the story are a covey of retired espionage agents of various talents who live as neighbors on Chipley Island in Chesapeake Bay. Chipley, we are told, is “a haven for spies who have worked for various clandestine agencies” both real and imagined. The real agencies number over a dozen, each of which figures one way or another in the story. They include the CIA, FBI, DEA, DHS, FSB (former KGB), SIS (a.k.a. MI-6), Mossad, and others. The one imagined agency is the American International Center, or AIC (a clever inverse of CIA).
We meet fourteen spies altogether (including a few married couples) who, despite retirement, still rise gallantly and with wit, charm, and sharp instincts, to the cause of protecting their country when crises arise. There are also several dozen other characters in the story: neighbors, friends and allies, and supporting cast. The author provides us with lots of lists (a bit more than necessary, at times) and an Appendix to help keep some of them in order. One is a list of eight clandestine ‘operations,’ old and new, which figure large and small in the plot. Each has a catchy code name, like Seagull, Mulberry Bush, Polaris, and Patches.
Patches ? now, there’s a challenge. What are the patches of the book’s title? The answer comes, in part, from Josie Warren, one of the key characters in the plot. Early on she gives us an explanation of sorts, although the notion of ‘patches’ remains somewhat of an enigma to the end. There are lots of parts or pieces to this novel, and her “word for the pieces had always been patches, not pieces,” she says, “because a patch covers a hole or tear or rip and I saw my job as one of discovery, namely what did a particular patch hide? It’s like an heirloom patchwork quilt. There’s no diagram for one. Each piece is a different shape and color, even texture. The challenge is to make the various sizes fit together, all the while avoiding color clashes…” Well, yes. If you say so…
The author helpfully introduces some of the key characters in the book in bold font asides as they show up on the page. One character, Josie Warren, is important to the story, start to finish. Her espionage-rich background includes “former government courier and tracker; known for her accurate and vivid recall, especially of visual images, in a word her eidetic memory…” She needs those particular skills to wend her way through the book. Introductions such as hers help keep the reader tuned in to who is joining the mystery and where they’re coming from.
Another is Blake Smythe-Jones, “retired SIS agent (British Secret Service, known as MI-6); trained sniper; joined Zach [Josie’s husband] on several missions…” His hyphenated British moniker lends sophistication to the story, and having been a sniper adds intrigue.
The author, Gini Anding, provides us with lots of information to help keep the plot lines clear – all very helpful. We see that she’s a well-published novelist, an amateur gourmet, and a poet, including the French variety. Such a rich background helps add depth of character and a bit of literary erudition to the book. It’s a good read.
—Don Messerschmidt, Portland Book Review
Fans of … spy-game mysteries … will note how Gini Anding just gets better over time. A Patchwork of Old Spies is both accurately titled and way too modest for Anding's assembled galaxy of experienced spooks. Patchwork situates them within today's hi-tech world and its geopolitics. Moreover, it extends through space from secretive earth watchers to the Pole Star. Polaris is the code name of a (busted) Russian operation. After the Polaris nut is cracked, a character confesses his ignorance about the considerable stellar folklore surrounding the Pole Star: "Really? I had no idea." He took the words right out of my mouth.
The significance of timely, lavish detail is worth highlighting. For starters, Anding is deeply informed about the background of this spicy yarn, but she knows how and when to hold back. Legendary Mossad casework, for instance, is implicitly acknowledged but only that. ASIS appears in diminished cameo because it is the butt of a thousand Australian punch lines. This deft, informed brushwork encourages the reader to flesh out the mysterious AIC, which becomes a plausible—although fabricated for the occasion—black ops. Denial = confirmation in international sleuthing. In less experienced hands, the vast storyboard would become scattered and unworkable. But in this whopper Anding has broken the mold.
So here is my second point. Elmore Leonard once bashed old Thomas Hardy for beginning his novels with sluggish weather reports. Anding jumpstarts her story by beginning in the aftermath of a storm. The plot IS the atmosphere of mystery, and with altered pace and timing, it shifts and twists. Chapter endings resist repetitious closing by opening with compound questions. Thumbnail sketches of new players pound out essential bios like bursts of a teletype. Major and minor characters, ambivalent and credible in their private lives (they even search for a Dairy Queen), are left to wonder "what's going ON here"? They place their bets to stay in the loop of this lengthy enigma, as do veteran whodunit addicts. Readers eavesdrop when spies review their collective clues, thus sparing us the tedium of backtracking. This strategy is comparable to the way TV pilots try to hook viewers, and keep them checking in throughout a series; but it's far less common in spy fiction, especially when the massive tableau is so wildly populated. When location demands rich background, readers catch their breath, and, better informed, itch for the action to resume its endless complications. To put a fine point on my view, the reader's requisite homework is duly rewarding and satisfying to the end.
A Case for Old Spies
Chipley Island off the Virginia coast has been chosen as a retirement haven for spies who have outlived their usefulness — or have they? A body washes ashore, and the message it conveys pulls the island’s motley assortment of former spooks back into the game. … As in all good espionage tales, there are spy networks within spy networks, a mole implanted on the island and multiple meanings to the clues the operatives are given. … The research that has gone into “A Case for Old Spies” is impressive, and the inside information about espionage procedures is intriguing. The story raises frightening real-life possibilities of terrorism’s potential for disastrous results. The author dexterously weaves in current happenings in Russia, Chechnya and the Arab nations to create a very real sense of our nation’s peril in a world of high-tech espionage.
—The St. Augustine Record
The writing crackles with authenticity, allowing the author to spin an exciting and thought provoking story that lends itself well to the thriller genre. The crosscutting of scenes is cinematic in nature, and so this book would lend itself quite well to being filmed commercially, especially with the time travel plot element.
A thought-provoking read for contemporary times—as the back cover queries, how do "old spies" spend their time in retirement? One can only hope there really is a Chipley Island! A mystery (beware red herrings!), old-fashioned clues (not seen by this reader until the end), a helpful and original riff on the "Cast of Characters" list which functions like a computer pop-up, right there when you need it, a spy and adventure tale, alliances, and misadventures. Bravo!
—Kathy C. Kurk, Amazon.com
This is a fun read that any puzzle lover or mystery fan will enjoy.
—Anne K. Edwards, MysteryFiction.net
In its opening scene, a corpse has washed ashore on an island off the Virginia coast. From this modest overture, "A Case for Old Spies" evolves through its tight 234 pages into a smart, intricately threaded tapestry of deeply informed spy trade craft and compelling terrorism. Gini Anding's mastery of storytelling and geopolitics distinguishes this fine read from the common run of airport lounge thrillers.
Solving a devilish puzzle by sifting myriad marginal clues -- some helpful to the protagonist, many misleading -- Anding assembles a large cast of veteran, engaging spies, with "coups de chapeau" along the way to MI-5 and -6, the Mossad, KGB, and the French intelligence apparatus. Even Putin makes a cameo appearance in profile. Such complexity could prove daunting to the most intrepid fan of spy fiction, who irresistibly wants to solve the gathering enigma alongside Josie and other lead characters. Anding meets the challenge ingeniously.
Far from feeling outclassed, the reader easily shares the frustrations of the prime mover, and rejoices in periodic success. Then, like her peer predecessors LeCarre, Forsyth, and as far back as Helen Macinnes, Anding conveys a sure knowledge and feel for changing venues of action, from Spain to Russia to various points south. This detailed familiarity has a way of enlarging the field of vision in the mind's eye of the reader, such that references to contemporary foment in Ukraine, for instance, brings to mind Chechnya, Dagestan and other trouble spots. Reference to Islamic bomb making reminds us that long ago Pakistan secretly developed an atomic weapon, rumored to be for sale to the highest bidder. Additionally, early on principal players are introduced in boldface print, comparable to the way TV dramas use teletype to date/place stamp across the screen in order better to inform viewers and sustain pace. Anding resists the so-called "heart-pumping action" that punctuates the chapter endings of the likes of Alan Folsom or Dan Brown, as if the reader needs to be forced into the following chapter. Like any good storyteller, Anding knows just when to alter the pace and timing. At a point where the reader begins to lose control of juggled clues (Trojan horse? Matryosha dolls?) Anding uses a chapter ending to reassemble scattered characters and plot lines, deftly suggesting new directions. The plane ride in chapter 8 exemplifies this beautifully. A prime character uses the relative stasis of an Economy seat to recollect, speculate, and connect dots. Hence, we can measure a tough mind at work.
Despite such assistance, Anding expects her reader to know the score. Reference to Hejazist terrorists calls up West Arabian splinter cells. Dissolution of the USSR correctly highlights: moles (Ames, Walker, Haansen) from the American Intelligence community; truculent national cultures that sprang from former Soviet Satellites; and above all the resulting flood of techno-info everywhere. And here Anding excels, half-way through the book, by underscoring nano-weaponry, miniature drones, threats to infrastructure and grid circuitry that has become the mind game of spycraft -- the dark shadow on our horizon. Without putting too fine a point on it, I found the conclusion credible and a fitting capstone.
One fine novel. Gini Anding has a gift and does darn fine work. I love her propensity for detail and the intricate cross-stitch delivery she employs. I won’t say she’s the second coming of Tolstoy, but dang she’s good! Not reading this book would be a mistake.
—John J. Kula, Amazon.com
Zach Warren is deputy sheriff on the idyllic Chipley Island, where he lives with his wife Josie. They are both retired spies – he once an expert assassin, she a courier - two of the many cold-war era operatives living out their retirement years on the island after their agency was quietly shut down. On Chipley Island, the circle of old spies enjoy their mundane lives, owning restaurants and writing children’s books, but those lives are thrown into chaos when the body of their old boss, a man known as the Trojan, washes up on shore, very recently dead. Investigating his death pulls Zach and Josie and their friends back into the spy games that they had abandoned many years ago, into a long-dormant plot that once almost got Josie killed and secrets within secrets that leave them unsure who they can trust. Though their skills are out of date in a world where technology has made espionage increasingly impersonal, sometimes an old dog’s tricks prove to be just as good as anything new.
A Case for Old Spies plays with the divide between Cold-War era espionage and that of the modern day – a divide that may not be as great as it seems. The story starts slowly, mainly through the need to introduce and establish the roles of the large cast, but moving forward the plot picks up pace and focuses more tightly on Zach and Josie. The result is interesting, though far from the action-thriller that one might expect from a spy novel. Indeed, what violent action there is happens almost entirely off the page. Instead, the focus of the story is on planning, problem solving, code-breaking, and exchanging information. Overall, it’s a refreshing change of pace, and, though the very end may feel a bit rushed, ultimately, it fits in with the book’s focus on the more cerebral and social aspects of spycraft. A solid four-star read.
—James Rasmussen, San Francisco Book Review
A Case for Old Spies is an intriguing look at what can happen when retired spies come out of retirement for one last mission. In keeping with the premise the reader is integrated in spying techniques of old with clandestine meetings, people coming back from the dead, mysterious ciphers that take the entire book to solve and intricate networks of contacts. These retired spies wonder what mission could be so important that they are called upon to finish it when they’ve been out of the business for decades, and the answer isn’t an easy one. With multiple layers and at least three missions running at once the reader is in for a roller coaster ride of mystery, danger and a little history.
“No one in the room had answers. While the three former spies recognized that they were again involved in a need-to-know situation, this time they were uncomfortable with their roles in the spy game.”
Some readers will find it challenging to delve into the book and get to know the characters because 18 characters are introduced within the first three chapters. While not all of the characters play a large role in the story they are all mentioned throughout the plot. It can take a while for a reader to keep all the characters separate in their mind as they read because some of the smaller characters do not have a unique voice. Speech patterns and dialog are similar for some people. In addition some of the names of the main characters sound similar, i.e. Zach and Jack, and when those two characters are first introduced and are talking to one another it can be hard to keep them as separate entities.
That being said, the actual mystery will draw the reader in like a moth to a flame. Gini Anding weaves a tale that will have the reader guessing until the last six pages. Every piece of information is carefully released to answer one question about the mission but also creates additional questions even for the main characters. Creating a mystery spanning at least six countries, multiple languages, and a short history lesson of Europe, the United States, and the Middle East during the Cold War is no easy feat. However, Anding does it all while keeping her characters (and the readers) in the dark.
A Case for Old Spies incorporates history, espionage, and a band of retirees in a story that will leave the reader wondering. In clandestine black-ops fashion the world never gets the full story, however that is its best part. In staying true to the world of spying, the world is a safer place but the details of the operation are “need-to-know.” For readers that are interested in a mystery that needs more than a GPS and some high-tech gadgets to unravel the plot, A Case for Old Spies is the book.
—D. Ann Williams, Portland Book Review
Witness on the Quay
“Gini Anding renders the Ile Saint-Louis in such vivid detail that readers will find it difficult to resist calling a travel agent and booking a flight on the next plane to Paris. Mind you, this isn’t the Paris that tourists typically see; this is a singular, almost provincial part of the City of Light peopled by exceptional characters who sometimes steal the scene even when they aren’t in the scene (like the never-seen Caroline Rochefort, de facto queen of the Ile)."
—Sharon Schulz-Elsing, CurledUp.com
“A complex set of subplots woven tightly into a story of intrigue and death as told by a cast of colorful characters...will have...[the reader] turning the pages to find out what happens next.”
—Anne K. Edwards, MysteryFiction.net
“I loved the characters in Witness on the Quay. Amy is an unusual, fun, middle-aged heroine that the reader will fall in love with immediately. Jean-Michel is the perfect hero...The dialogue is wonderfully realistic and sometimes downright fun, especially the conversations between Amy and Jean-Michel. The fascinating setting adds a delightful dimension to the story. I loved all the suspense, the many clues to the mystery, all the wonderful supporting cast, and most of all, the romance and passion...It’s fun to read about an intelligent, talented, and yes, sexy older heroine.”
“I thought I had figured out this story early on, but Anding’s
chameleon-like narrative kept throwing me off the track. The
romance plot looks predictable at first but is soon preempted by
a richly detailed, authentic travelogue centered on the historic
Ile Saint-Louis in Paris. Then the murder mystery takes center
stage, but just as that seems nearing resolution, unexpected
developments in the romance upstage it. This is a compelling,
immediate, exciting story with the shifting emphases on each of
these responses leaving the reader constantly off-balance—and
that element of surprise is the fourth factor in this novel’s
consistent charm and interest.”
“I have waited too long to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your first, and happily not last, mystery. It held my interest the whole time and I am full of admiration for your mastery of narrative techniques and the deft use you made of local color, and also for your constant and very charming sense of humor. It was a lot of fun, and I hope you had as much fun writing it... I very much look forward to reading
Witness at the Bridge.”
“I just finished Witness on the Quay, and I liked it a lot. To my way of thinking, the real hero of the novel is the Ile Saint-Louis itself. There is a magnificent sense of place in your book, with fine attention to detail and lots of local pungency. I shall be eager to see what you do next.”
“I have just finished Witness on the Quay... I couldn't put it down. Honest! Your work is a fun combination of detective story, spy thriller, and Harlequin romance, with lots of interesting history to boot. I will never walk around the Ile again without thinking of your book.”
—Gerard J. Brault
“For aficionados of mystery-detective-espionage thrillers, Gini Anding offers both a new take on the genre and—best of all—a distillation of the finest features of
whodunit fiction. No mystery writer of today comes close to Anding's intimate knowledge of Paris. And here readers of crime-and-spy conspiracy will appreciate how foreign settings come alive to drive a story's action.
Witness on the Quay evokes unique tastes and smells of the Parisian scene through skillfully placed details. The map provided as well as the Cast of Characters are helpful adjuncts, as the plot accelerates through its twists and turns.”
—Robert Griffin, Amazon.com
“Wise, witty and winsome, Witness on the Quay testifies warmly on France and things French. As Amy Page, its food journalist heroine, rebounds as an endangered witness of murder in the heart of Paris, we are more than incidentally grateful for her ‘homework’ in the restaurants, bakeries and stalls of the city as preparation for the cookbook she is writing for her American readers. As much as her culinary investigations readers will relish her amorous involvement with her partner in detection, the French policeman Jean-Michel Jolivet. Anding does for the City of Paris what Dan Brown does for the Eternal City! May the Amy/Anding cookbook soon accompany the sequel to
—Jacques Otrebor, Amazon.com
“Witness on the Quay is a genuine page-turner. I read the first sixty pages in one sitting. Gini Anding pulls the reader along with such power, yet with a light and graceful touch. The author nails Paris (and the French) in a way that few American writers are able to do. (I can think of only one other: Diane Johnson.) Readers are introduced to the cuisine and mores of Parisians (and aristocratic provincials) by means that are never forced, are always natural, that come straight out of the story and the characters. The pace is swift, but somehow leisurely, and the police procedural dimension of the tale is deftly handled. Most important, we see that love and passion can bloom in the lives of people over fifty, no doubt shocking news to the twenty-something set. What a delightful confection! We really care about the principals, Amy and Jean-Michel, and look forward to meeting them again in the sequels to
Witness on the Quay.”
—Robert W. Greene, BarnesandNoble.com
"I have never written a fan letter to an author before. I greatly enjoyed reading your mystery and am convinced that it would make a good movie or pilot for a TV series (here or in France). It also makes me want to go to Paris and rent an apartment on the island and eat French food and drink wine until I burst... I think you are very clever to have invented such a complicated plot... I hope that you will keep up what you have started and give us more adventures of your charming heroine. A cookbook wouldn't hurt either."
—Joseph R. Jones
“For me, Gini Anding’s mystery novel, Witness on the Quay,
was a true page-turner... I read it, fascinated, in two intense
reading periods. My immediate and outstanding reaction centered
on the creation of characters. The reader knows just how they
are going to act (especially Amy and Jean-Michel) all the way
through the novel, even up to the last two revelatory chapters.
The characters are not simply saying things that tell a story.
They come through as personalities, even the seemingly more
minor ones like Auguste. Added significance for all readers,
including me, is the way in which one gets to know the Ile
Saint-Louis intimately (and the map helps a lot), and the cover
picture is so appropriate.”
—John T. Shawcross
Witness at the Bridge
“A talented combination of romance and mystery, this story is a well told tale that will please the pickiest romantic or mystery buff.”
—Anne K. Edwards, MysteryFiction.net
“This successor to Witness on the Quay could be
considered a number of books skillfully melded: a fast-paced
mystery involving murder and the international drug trade, a
heartwarming love story, a meticulous guidebook to Paris and
especially to the Ile Saint-Louis, and a compendium of
information about French history, cooking, and assorted customs.
The main character is a delightful middle-aged American woman,
and we also meet a sometimes bewildering cast of characters,
including aristocrats, policemen, shopkeepers, chefs and
waiters, crooks, gangsters, a retired concierge, a high-class
prostitute and a porn star. Amy and Jean-Michel are even more
appealing in this second book, I think, and I look forward to
—Barbara C. Bowen, BarnesandNoble.com
“Gini Anding’s writing is a delicious mix of mystery, romance and traditional whodunit. Woven into the tale are background details of history and tidbits of interest about the Ile Saint-Louis. Readers will feel as though they have visited in person. While it is enjoyable to read this second Amy Page / Jean-Michel Jolivet tale, it is by no means a prerequisite to have read the first. The novels stand on their own as works of fiction, but readers are lucky to have both books available.”
“Gini, you have done it again. Once again you have plunged your readers into the exciting world of Amy Page and Jean-Michel Jolivet. What Judy and I find truly amazing is that with your second novel you have written both a story that can stand on its own as a self-sufficient tale of murder-cum-romance and a perfect sequel to the first novel in the series. In other words, readers new to your work will enjoy your second novel enormously whether or not they have yet read your first novel. You pack so much into your stories—about France, about American expats, about love, about how relationships are formed, about good and bad people and those in between. And all the while readers see Amy and Michel's love for each other deepening. Where is it going, we wonder. But that story will be told in sequels 3, 4, 5 . . . We never want it to end.”
—Bob and Judy Greene
“The venerable suspense writer Dick Francis has said in interviews that when readers choose a thriller, they expect to be entertained and perhaps, equally, to learn something . . . principles at the heart of Gini Anding’s new mystery series . . . [A] crash course for Francophiles, history buffs, pop culture aficionados, cuisiniers and chef wannabes, and fun reading for anyone who loves a contemporary, mature, and Gallic-spiced romance . . . Amy Page has a disturbing propensity and proximity to crime victims: a garroted taxi driver in Witness on the Quay, an international businessman posed in ‘still life’ on the Pont-Louis-Philippe in Witness at the Bridge . . . Happily she meets, and consequently falls in love with [Inspector] Jean-Michel Jolivet . . . Their adventures together are a fast-paced romp . . . Anding’s eye for detail is exact and her . . . ‘Cast of Characters’ and hand-drawn maps are most helpful . . . No reader . . . will want to miss how this engaging, intelligent spy and intrigue series develops.”
—Katherine C. Kurk, Kentucky Philological Review
Witness in the Square
“This is a fun read that will let you feel as if you’ve visited the Ile in person and toured the shops and old buildings. The well-drawn cast of characters will keep you focused on the story. A multilayered take woven into a cleverly plotted tale by talented author Gini Anding will satisfy any mystery lover. Enjoy. I sure did."
—Anne K. Edwards,
Author, Death on Delivery
“In the reflective tradition of Agatha Christie, Gini Anding offers another great mystery for readers to pick apart . . . The plot is bigger than imagined with twists that lead to high-staked risks. With points of interest that include stamp collections, hand carved earrings, Hawaii, forged passports, and terrorist activities, this is not your typical murder mystery . . . Anding goes into wonderful detail of her beloved Ile Saint-Louis, giving historical facts to deepen the reader’s experience . . . This third book in a series certainly adds to the collection but it also stands alone as a fantastic read. I highly recommend
Witness in the Square as a murder mystery with a darker side than most.”
—Heather Froeschl, BookIdeas.com
Witness by the Church
"Gini has dedicated such energy and intellect to the details that she makes the settings as real to the reader as to the visitor."
—Julie Costich, Amazon.com
"Another fun read in the series of Amy Page and Jean-Michel's relationship and the mysteries they find themselves involved in. If you like action and intrigue, this is a tale that will please you."
—Anne K. Edwards,
Author, Death on Delivery
“Witness by the Church is the fourth book in Gini Anding’s Witness series. It is the first one that I have read. She reintroduces the characters, so I had no problems stepping into the series. She just made me want to go back and read the other ones. The heroine, Amy Page is an American widow. She is newly living with her lover Jean-Michel Jolivet who has recently retired as an inspector.
After Amy begins experiencing too many mishaps, some of which are obviously intentional, Jean Michel becomes suspicious and starts investigating. This leads into other incredible mysteries that involve relics, lost treasures, an ancient church and tales of the Templars. Jean-Michel needs to find out who is endangering Amy’s life as quickly as possible to keep her safe. To him, she is the most important treasure.
Witness by the Church takes you to some wonderful places in Paris. Ms. Anding’s vivid descriptions bring everything to life, so much so that I felt like I was there. I love the romance between Amy and Jean-Michel. What would a mystery in Paris be without love? Amy is a very lively character. She makes everything an adventure. She is also a culinary expert, whose descriptions of food made my stomach growl. I also picked up some interesting trivia on the history of some foods. It was also fascinating to learn about the life of St. Louis and his church.
For a fun, romantic mystery, Witness by the Church is the perfect pick. Romance reader groups will especially love it!"
—Paige Lovitt, ReaderViews.com
Witness from the Café
"Equal parts mystery, thriller, travelogue, and history lesson, Witness from the Café is sunny and bright...a breezy read...Anding's impressive pedigree...makes her uniquely qualified to craft a tale of intrigue and suspense set against the gorgeous backdrop of the Ile Saint-Louis, an island in the Seine River that functions as a slow-paced historical oasis in the heart of bustling Paris...Where Anding excels is in her attention to detail; her lovingly precise descriptions of the Ile Saint-Louis explode off the page, painting a picture of historical charm that immerses the reader in the setting...Those who enjoy a mixture of romance and less-edgy mystery will be drawn into the carefully constructed world that Anding has created, and want to seek out the other books in the Witness series."
—San Francisco Book Review
"Once again we return to the lovely Ile Saint-Louis where Amy Page has been residing for a number of years and writing columns about French cooking and related subjects...And once again, Amy now married to her love, Jean-Michel, is up to her ears in a murder investigation...Plenty of romance, lots of action...Talented author Gini Anding has crafted a tale that will make you want to read the entire series to date."
—Anne K. Edwards, MysteryFiction.net
Author, Shadows over Paradise
"Un mot à propos d'Amy: Elle est étrangère On ne saurait trop le dire. [Son statut d’étrangère] est la structure essentielle de ta série Witness. Amy est témoin d'actes criminels, et surtout témoin de Paris et du monde parisien. Et, parce qu'elle est étrangère, elle est le témoin idéal. En tant qu'étrangère, son regard se veut naïf. Naïf au sens très particulier qu'il a pour décrire celui qui voit avec des yeux neufs, sans préjugé. Comme Bergson voudrait que le philosophe regarde le monde. Comme le sont les Ingénu, Candide et autres créations des auteurs de l'époque philosophique...Ce facteur étranger est aussi ce qui, de roman en roman, détermine l'évolution de ton personnage...On la suit...Elle cesse d'être témoin de la société française et du monde parisien, pour devenir une active participante de cette société...En épousant Jean-Michel, elle n'est plus témoin d'un monde, elle épouse ce monde. Elle se donne des racines profondes. Elle n'est plus étrangère, elle devient une française de vieille souche. 'France as melting pot.'"
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