A house in France connects three women together — the woman who owns the house, the woman who lives in the house, and the woman who died in the house sixty years before. Merle Bennett inherits the house of her late husband, in a small village in the Dordogne. But when she arrives a deranged squatter won't let her inside.
Secrets from the post-war period, when southwest France was left to wither by Nazi occupation, and secrets of a newer kind, disrupt what should be a fine French summer for Merle. With her teenage son in tow, a sexy roofer in her kitchen, and a nasty discovery in the pissoir, there is plenty to keep her mind off her endless to-do list.
Blackbird Fly is a literary suspense novel, a story of murder, self-discovery, and family, deep in the heart of France.
In her first stand-alone suspense novel, Lise McClendon reaches deep into the past to find a France untouched by the outside world of tourism and fashion. Writing in a "lyrical, often humorous style," she brings both the pain and rewards of rebirth and the rich French countryside to life.
The descriptions of the French village and house make them a character. Blackbird Fly has love and intrigue, and proof that family bonds are strong enough to reach beyond the grave. —LuxuryReading.com
“This book brought me back to wanting to keep reading until the very end. Pour yourself a nice Merlot and keep turning the pages.”
“An intriguing story, a mystery with heart.”
“The characters were real and completely developed. All loose ends were tied up very nicely. This book climbed inside the main characters, flaws and all.”
“A very well written story, with characters that are interesting, likeable, and you care about them. There are dead bodies, suspense, and mystery. It's just a great story!”
From the Author
A novel has a distinct setting but it's the people who drive the action. I wanted to write about a part of France many Americans have never visited. Through the internet Americans living in France provided answers to my questions, sent me photos, became pen-pals and then friends. Generous and friendly to a fault, one new pen-pal lived in Bergerac at the time. Later she moved to Cahors then Puy-l'Évêque, and sent me missives describing her adventures. One delightful consequence of writing this novel was almost life-imitates-art when I finally met Sharon in France.
My research led me to seek out a picturesque bastide village. I used Monpazier as a home base. The village in the book, the fictional Malcouziac, is pretty but it is definitely not Monpazier. The only similarity is the structure of the bastide, the stone walls crumbling, the hilltop location surrounded by vineyards and lush, tree-tangled ravines, the narrow pedestrian streets and half-renovated houses. Without the setting the story wouldn't have come alive in my imagination. When Merle Bennett dreams of France, she remembers the light: golden, warm, nourishing. And she can't stay away, even if it makes no practical sense to use her last nickel to go there.
The village should be idyllic: sunshine, vineyards, and walls of yellow stone. Merle gets an off-the-books job as a tour guide at a local winery and evicts a squatter. But the townspeople are more than merely unfriendly. As the past unravels, colliding with modern tensions and the filthy trials of renovation, the summer takes on a dark cast, full of secrets best left buried.
Whether you look out your real window, or the one in your mind I hope Blackbird Fly brings it all to life for you. Pour a glass of wine and enjoy.
Want more Lise McClendon? Read her new novel, a twist on Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice, All Your Pretty Dreams. On sale now here on Amazon.