Passengers taken hostage, terrorist demands and a secret mission.
When a terrorist plan to kidnap the wife of a prominent member of the French government is thwarted, they take a group of tourists hostage in a restaurant. Several of Fiona Mason’s passengers are among the hostages.
MI6’s Director of Counter-terrorism, Peter Montgomery-Jones is in Avignon on a secret mission. Can Fiona persuade him to help when one of her passengers is murdered?
If you like whodunnit mysteries with a touch of edge set in beautiful locations including Avignon, Arles, Viviers, Tournon and Lyon, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you turning the page, then join our intrepid woman sleuth on the sixth Fiona Mason Mystery – Blood Flows South.
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“When I read the information about this book I wondered how the author would maintain the glorious sense of fun and adventure this series has always had when she introduced the grim tension of a terrorist hostage siege. I am delighted that she managed to do so, producing a book that is powerful and thought-provoking but also lively and warm, with engaging characters as well as weaving an interesting mystery, with well-laid clues, into the background of a terror attack. When writing a series set around coach tours to Europe, it is hard to ignore the current political situation, and the author has taken the brave path of confronting the problem and has succeeded in creating an excellent and thoroughly enjoyable book.”
Blood Flows South in Pictures
Take a picture journey with Fiona and her passengers following their itinerary through picturesque Provence in southern France.
Leaving their overnight stop in Dijon they drive south on the way to Avignon and stop for lunch at one of Beaujolais’s famous wine cellars. Here they learn more about the art of winemaking and sample the popular Beaujolais Nouveau.
Their day begins with a guided walk through Avignon – a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “City of Popes”. The Palace of the Popes was the centre of the Christian world and home to seven pontiffs who lived here from 1309 to 1377. The building has served not only as a papal residence, but also as a fortress, a church and a palace.
The Palace of the Popes was built in the 1300s, and this gigantic fortress-church is the largest Gothic building in the whole of Europe. Their tour of the palace includes a visit to the Popes’ private apartments with their fabulous frescoes.
Their local guide takes them through the narrow medieval streets of the historic centre to the Place de l’Horloge, the city’s central square with its imposing clock tower. Here, they see the City Hall, with its elegant façade built between 1845 and 1851.
The City Hall was built over a former cardinal’s palace and only the old fortified tower remains. It was transformed into a belfry in the 15th century with clock and bell striker.
Leaving Avignon, they travel south to Arles which was the capital of Roman Gaul in the last days of the Roman Empire and the largest Roman town outside Italy, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.
Their first stop is the amphitheatre, which held seating for 20,000 spectators, and is still used today for bullfights and for horse racing.
The Mediterranean sunlight inspired the great impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh. He moved to the city in 1888 and painted many of its sites including the famous yellow ‘Night Café’ and ‘Starry Night on the Rhône’.
Their tour of Arles ends in the peaceful gardens in the centre of the local psychiatric hospital where the artist was treated after his breakdown.
After lunch in a local restaurant, the party climb up into the Provence Alps to Carrieres de Lumiere to see a unique multimedia show projected onto the walls, monumental pillars, ceilings and floors of an immense underground limestone quarry.
Ancient Rome left a lasting imprint throughout this area and the group visit one of the great marvels of Roman engineering that has stood the test of time – Pont du Gard Aqueduct. This magnificent three-tiered structure built without mortar 2,000 years ago was one of the most ambitious engineering projects of its time.
The 31-mile-long aqueduct carried 44 million gallons of water each day from the springs of Uzès to the Roman colony of Nimes. Pont du Gard is the most frequently visited ancient site in France and became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985.
Day 6 takes our intrepid group to the charming riverside town of Viviers nestling between the foothills of the Ardèche and the bank of the Rhône a few miles south of Montélimar. Viviers is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Southern France.
The upper town climbs up the hillside to the smallest active cathedral in France, dedicated to St Vincent, which dates back to the twelfth century. Among its treasures are the ornate eighteenth-century altar, which stands beneath a white Gothic dome, and the seventeenth century Gobelin tapestries depicting biblical scenes which decorate the choir.
On the afternoon excursion the party travel back in time, taking a ride on a steam train for an excursion into the wilds of the Doux Valley. This untouched region is now a conservation area totally inaccessible by road.
Fiona and her party spend their day in Vienne exploring its rich Roman past. The city offers a greater concentration of architectural history than any other town in the Rhône Valley. Recognising its strategic importance at the junction of the Rhône and Gère rivers, Julius Caesar transformed this once Celtic region into a Roman Colony building it in the image of Rome. Many of the town’s Roman monuments are still intact and remarkably well-preserved, including its temple, ancient ramparts and aqueducts. Today visitors can see the ruins of the old Roman circus, thermal baths and have the opportunity to admire the luxuriously decorated houses.
The Temple of Augustus and Livia dates back to the first century.
The views from the top are spectacular and from here the group have their first glimpse of the 13,000-seat theatre built into the slopes of the hill, the highlight of Roman Vienne and their last visit of the day.
The party’s destination the next morning is France’s third largest city, Lyon which straddles the junction of the rivers Rhône and Saône.
Standing above the city is the Basilica of Notre-Dame at the top of Fourvière Hill.
It remained the largest church in Christendom until St Peter’s Basilica was built in Rome some six hundred years later. It reached the height of its influence in the twelfth century. Cluny was the motherhouse of the Benedictines, the largest monastic order in the western world. Thus, the abbot was in charge not only of the monks here at Cluny but was head of the whole Benedictine community throughout the Christian world, which at that time consisted of over ten thousand monks in as many as a thousand monasteries.
Time for the party to say goodbye to Avignon and the glorious Provence region to make their way back to Calais.
I do hope you have enjoyed your travels with Fiona. As in all her adventures, this idyllic setting is merely a backdrop to murder and mayhem and all is not as it may seem.