Arts & Leisure

2008-0824_cezannes_quarry.jpg

Cézanne's Quarry by Barbara Pope.

In this richly atmospheric novel, a mysterious young woman named Solange Vernet arrives in Aix-en-Provence with her lover, a Darwinian scholar named Charles Westbury, and a year later is found strangled in a quarry outside the city. 

2008-0824_cezannes_quarry.jpg

Cézanne's Quarry by Barbara Pope

In this richly atmospheric novel, a mysterious young woman named Solange Vernet arrives in Aix-en-Provence with her lover, a Darwinian scholar named Charles Westbury, and a year later is found strangled in a quarry outside the city. 

The young and inexperienced magistrate, Bernard Martin, finds his investigation caught in the crossfires of a raging cultural debate. Many of the more conservative residents of Aix, including Martin's own police investigator, believe that Solange reaped what she sowed for entertaining such radical scientific theories.

Initially assuming that Solange's murder was a simple crime de passion by either a spurned Paul Cézanne or a betrayed Westbury, Bernard soon finds himself on a mission to unravel the secrets of Solange and Cezanne's hidden past—the key to which may be a series of his paintings which depict the strangulation and violation of a woman with golden-red hair.

Exploring questions of science and religion—and the role of women in these realms—that persist even today, Cézanne's Quarry is an impressive debut mystery about life, death, love, and art.

The author, Barbara Pope, is a historian, an award-winning teacher, and the founding director of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Oregon. Barbara has lived and worked in Provence, where Cézanne's Quarry is set, and currently resides in Eugene, Oregon. This is her first novel.

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Sources: Skagit County Public Health, Washington State Department of Health, New York Times