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The Third Girl

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Meet Molly Sutton, 38 years old and out of work, who moves to a village in France to recover from the end of her marriage. She’s looking for peace, beautiful gardens, and pastry—a slower, safer life than the one she’d been living outside of Boston. But you know what they say about the best intentions… Molly has barely gotten over jet-lag before she hears about a local stu Meet Molly Sutton, 38 years old and out of work, who moves to a village in France to recover from the end of her marriage. She’s looking for peace, beautiful gardens, and pastry—a slower, safer life than the one she’d been living outside of Boston. But you know what they say about the best intentions… Molly has barely gotten over jet-lag before she hears about a local student’s disappearance. In between getting her old ramshackle house in order and reveling in French food, Molly ends up embroiled in the case, along with the gendarmes of Castillac. And unlike the Nancy Drews she loved as a child, this mystery stirs up emotions she thought had been put to rest..and terrifies the residents of her beloved village.


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Meet Molly Sutton, 38 years old and out of work, who moves to a village in France to recover from the end of her marriage. She’s looking for peace, beautiful gardens, and pastry—a slower, safer life than the one she’d been living outside of Boston. But you know what they say about the best intentions… Molly has barely gotten over jet-lag before she hears about a local stu Meet Molly Sutton, 38 years old and out of work, who moves to a village in France to recover from the end of her marriage. She’s looking for peace, beautiful gardens, and pastry—a slower, safer life than the one she’d been living outside of Boston. But you know what they say about the best intentions… Molly has barely gotten over jet-lag before she hears about a local student’s disappearance. In between getting her old ramshackle house in order and reveling in French food, Molly ends up embroiled in the case, along with the gendarmes of Castillac. And unlike the Nancy Drews she loved as a child, this mystery stirs up emotions she thought had been put to rest..and terrifies the residents of her beloved village.

30 review for The Third Girl

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Dodge

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This author could do very interesting things in the future, but for the most part, this book reminded me of why mystery genre conventions exist--and why they shouldn't be flouted until you're a lot more senior. The most distracting of these departures is pacing; the scenes flipflop at irregular, often confusing intervals, and I never understood why some characters' POV was provided. Still, that's mostly experience, and I'd be quick to overlook most of the time. But there were also simply plenty This author could do very interesting things in the future, but for the most part, this book reminded me of why mystery genre conventions exist--and why they shouldn't be flouted until you're a lot more senior. The most distracting of these departures is pacing; the scenes flipflop at irregular, often confusing intervals, and I never understood why some characters' POV was provided. Still, that's mostly experience, and I'd be quick to overlook most of the time. But there were also simply plenty of choices I just don't understand. In the first chapter Goddin provides a flashback of the murderer's childhood along with his name, leaving you to wonder why you're reading a mystery when she unveiled the murderer in the opening scene. She seems to attempt to mitigate this by providing childhood scenes of a few other characters, but the murderer's childhood is obviously the memorable one, and the red herrings do nothing to distract you. (Edited to add: I was also especially confused when Lapin is interviewed and he hesitates to admit what happened after he walked the drunken victim out of the bar. When he won't answer, the obvious answer which our detective should have intuited is that he put her in a taxi, what is apparently the only taxi in town, driven by our murderer who was already clearly identified earlier. It was so obvious that I really did begin to doubt everything and read through to the end mostly to see if there was something entirely different going on that I'd missed. There wasn't.) Yet at the same time, key clues are kept from the reader so that you can't attempt to solve it alongside the strangely disinterested heroine (possibly I missed them, but I've been reading mysteries avidly for thirty years), and in an incredibly bizarre move, the author skips the climax - the terrifying moment when Our Heroine figures out the murderer, and he begins hunting her. It just skips to the next day with a vague summary of what happened! All that tension, built up for nothing. What a waste. On top of that, I felt dubious over the character's a) ability to open a b&b legally in France as a foreign resident b) extra dubious that she got the house ready for visitors in 3 days and c) overwhelmingly dubious that she made close friends in a week in a small tight-knit community when her college French has been presumably out of use for twenty years. Although I really do want to attend their village party. Excellent, excellent sounding party.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    It took a long time to find interest in the characters in this book especially the protagonist, Molly. She was scattered, shallow, and had very few redeeming qualities. The other characters, again, were more self-serving than working towards the ultimate goal of finding what happened to the missing college student. I trudged through and finished. Not sure I would ever take the time to read any more books in this series.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tonya

    Oh my!! I couldn't believe he was the murderer... Oh my!! I couldn't believe he was the murderer...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chantel DaCosta

    This is my first Nell Goddin novel and the story's premise was good and was set up to be a cozy mystery. I have always enjoyed these stories even if they are formulaic but somehow this first Molly Sutton mystery fell flat. Molly is new to Castiallac and for an American expat living alone in France Molly's attitude and actions felt false. She seems far removed from the actions of investigation and instead the police officers were far more keen on solving the mystery. This was also told from multi This is my first Nell Goddin novel and the story's premise was good and was set up to be a cozy mystery. I have always enjoyed these stories even if they are formulaic but somehow this first Molly Sutton mystery fell flat. Molly is new to Castiallac and for an American expat living alone in France Molly's attitude and actions felt false. She seems far removed from the actions of investigation and instead the police officers were far more keen on solving the mystery. This was also told from multiple POVs, featuring Molly, the detectives and also flashback scenes from a view characters. The mystery of it all was slow to wrap up and unlike other cozy mysteries the reader isn't given enough clues to help the main amatuer sleuth crack the case. There are also several instances where the story line gets chopped. As a reader there are exceptions of certain interactions to play out but instead these are not shared and only brief synopsis are given from snippets of community gossip. I like the little community and I may read book two in the series. Nell Goddin has a good idea to work with so maybe the series and Molly's investigative skills and intuition improved in book two.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mystereity Reviews

    This was entertaining and lovable, and I'm definitely a fan of the series after reading this! There's just something about this book that grabbed me from the first page, I fell head over heels into Molly's world; her excitement at living in France, seeing it all for the first time, it felt like I was seeing it too (I've never been to France, so I enjoyed exploring the countryside through her eyes.) Maybe it was the colorful characters or the beautiful setting, all drawn as rich as French food. M This was entertaining and lovable, and I'm definitely a fan of the series after reading this! There's just something about this book that grabbed me from the first page, I fell head over heels into Molly's world; her excitement at living in France, seeing it all for the first time, it felt like I was seeing it too (I've never been to France, so I enjoyed exploring the countryside through her eyes.) Maybe it was the colorful characters or the beautiful setting, all drawn as rich as French food. Maybe it was the easy way the story progressed, with the characters evolving with the story. I liked how effortlessly it segued between the point of views of several of the characters and even how it segued between the French and English characters. The intriguing plot, surrounding the disappearance of a local art school student, had many suspects and I didn't suspect who the murderer was until the very end of the book, just before the MC did. Very well crafted! The only criticism I have is the ending wasn't entirely satisfying. At the pivotal point, the action cut off, then went to Molly telling everyone what happened. It was a bit of a let down for me, but not enough to put me off the series. Loved it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Pragati Bidkar

    The statistics can't be wrong! This is mentioned time and again in The Third Girl. But what statistics? That is never clearly mentioned. The book maintains the intrigue without going into too much unpleasantness or gory stuff. There is a Gothic element. Many people 'feel' something bad is about to happen. Village life in France is painted as idyllic but not perfect. No matter where you go, there will always be some crime. The author drives home this point through the story. Molly Sutton voraciousl The statistics can't be wrong! This is mentioned time and again in The Third Girl. But what statistics? That is never clearly mentioned. The book maintains the intrigue without going into too much unpleasantness or gory stuff. There is a Gothic element. Many people 'feel' something bad is about to happen. Village life in France is painted as idyllic but not perfect. No matter where you go, there will always be some crime. The author drives home this point through the story. Molly Sutton voraciously consumes baked goods and weeds her garden. She makes friends with people and feels at home in her new surroundings. She stumbles upon a crime if only by serendipity. Overall, there is plenty of suspense and intrigue to keep you turning pages, and the background plot is one that will endure for many books to come. A good find for sure.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Roberts

    Loved it. Loved it. A nice mystery with no sex. Great book for anyone who likes a nice clean mystery. Can't wait to read the next book in this series. Loved it. Loved it. A nice mystery with no sex. Great book for anyone who likes a nice clean mystery. Can't wait to read the next book in this series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    AngryGreyCat

    I found The Third Girl lovely! The first in a new mystery series, set in a small village in France. The protagonist, Molly, just has purchased and opened a small bed and breakfast type establishment as she finds her feet after a divorce. The village is home to a small exclusive art school and one of the students goes missing and though Molly does not set out to investigate she becomes mixed up in the case. The strong point of this book is the sense of place. You come away feeling that you really I found The Third Girl lovely! The first in a new mystery series, set in a small village in France. The protagonist, Molly, just has purchased and opened a small bed and breakfast type establishment as she finds her feet after a divorce. The village is home to a small exclusive art school and one of the students goes missing and though Molly does not set out to investigate she becomes mixed up in the case. The strong point of this book is the sense of place. You come away feeling that you really know the community, the village in France, the people, the cafe, the neighbor who hangs out her La Perla lingerie, the barman and the police officers. That is what really drew me into this book. The mystery was entertaining and wrapped up well in the end. There were enough red herrings to keep the reader guessing. I look forward to reading more in this series.

  9. 4 out of 5

    John Lee

    Now please dont get me wrong as many of my favourite authors are women but others, especially when writing about youngish single/divorced scatty types leave me fuming and the book consigned to early rest in the waste paper. On the plus side here I had a mystery (tick) set in the french countryside ( tres bon ) so I decided to give it a go. I have to admit to a few worries as our heroine arrives at her new home ( do people really buy new homes for themselves in foreign countries without seeing the Now please dont get me wrong as many of my favourite authors are women but others, especially when writing about youngish single/divorced scatty types leave me fuming and the book consigned to early rest in the waste paper. On the plus side here I had a mystery (tick) set in the french countryside ( tres bon ) so I decided to give it a go. I have to admit to a few worries as our heroine arrives at her new home ( do people really buy new homes for themselves in foreign countries without seeing them first?) Ms Goddon's description of the village francais certainly matched the likes of those from Martin Walker's Inspector Bruno series and the books by Jean Luc Bennelec set on the Brittany coast. She captures the atmosphere brilliantly right down to the delicious moment as you enter the patiserrie. or a favourite bar. I have a couple of moans with the story and maybe if you have not read the book then you better stop reading here. The first and most significant, comes under the heading of "Would it happen like that?"I find it difficult to believe that with such a serious crime as this (especially with two earlier similarities) a different Law Enforcement Agency would not have been quickly on the scene whether or not the local Gendarmerie "chose" to investigate.. The second moan is from the point of view of the armchair sleuth who had precious little to go on in the way of clues. So over all did I enjoy it? Yes, I did. I could see a couple of avenues that the author has left free to explore and there is always the patiserrie to enjoy . Will I be on the look out for number 2 ? Again , perhaps rather surprisingly, Yes. May be I might try a negroni to get me in the mood next time !

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sherri

    I really enjoyed the setting of the story, being in a village in France, and Molly’s day to day life in this village. Also Molly and her friends characters were all very interesting to me. Part I didn’t like was the mystery and how it was resolved. Also I did not understand the purpose of the flash back stories which were only composed of 1-2 sentences!! What was they supposed to tell or reveal?? All together, I don’t mind reading the other books in the series just to know what will happen to th I really enjoyed the setting of the story, being in a village in France, and Molly’s day to day life in this village. Also Molly and her friends characters were all very interesting to me. Part I didn’t like was the mystery and how it was resolved. Also I did not understand the purpose of the flash back stories which were only composed of 1-2 sentences!! What was they supposed to tell or reveal?? All together, I don’t mind reading the other books in the series just to know what will happen to the people of the village !

  11. 5 out of 5

    Johanna (jojreads)

    Admittedly, I was painting and not paying close attention for a majority of this book, but I would say about 90% of the story lacked any compelling events to interest me in the plot line. Finally in the last few minutes of the book the murderer is at last revealed when he goes after the main character. At last! Something interesting! But no. We never really get to discover how the murder was caught and the whole scene is glossed over. Very anticlimactic, unsure I would read/listen to further in Admittedly, I was painting and not paying close attention for a majority of this book, but I would say about 90% of the story lacked any compelling events to interest me in the plot line. Finally in the last few minutes of the book the murderer is at last revealed when he goes after the main character. At last! Something interesting! But no. We never really get to discover how the murder was caught and the whole scene is glossed over. Very anticlimactic, unsure I would read/listen to further in this series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    F J Hamilton

    Good premise, disappointing execution I was attracted by the idea of a plot set in rural France but the result failed to demonstrate it. A few French words and passing references to cuisine does not portray French village life. Characters were not convincing and somewhat stereotyped and lacked any depth. The 'red herrings' did not really add to the suspense and the final resolution seemed contrived and simplistic as though the writer had run out of ideas. Good premise, disappointing execution I was attracted by the idea of a plot set in rural France but the result failed to demonstrate it. A few French words and passing references to cuisine does not portray French village life. Characters were not convincing and somewhat stereotyped and lacked any depth. The 'red herrings' did not really add to the suspense and the final resolution seemed contrived and simplistic as though the writer had run out of ideas.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

    Maybe 2.5. This is more of a cozy than I usually read. I am sort of on a "bender" reading fiction with memorable settings. The setting of this novel is lovingly depicted, somewhat making up for the fact that the mystery is predictable. I might not read another in the series, but I would love to visit this part of France. Maybe 2.5. This is more of a cozy than I usually read. I am sort of on a "bender" reading fiction with memorable settings. The setting of this novel is lovingly depicted, somewhat making up for the fact that the mystery is predictable. I might not read another in the series, but I would love to visit this part of France.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Breckinridge

    'The Third Girl' by Nell Goddin is an interesting interplay between the flighty, immature thoughts and behaviors of the mystery's main character, Molly Sutton, and the disappearance of a young British art student (the third woman to disappear from the village). The other characters in the village of Castillac are also complicated and flawed, and interactions among them serve as the backdrop for the story. Thus, the reader is simultaneously being introduced to expensive underwear hanging in the s 'The Third Girl' by Nell Goddin is an interesting interplay between the flighty, immature thoughts and behaviors of the mystery's main character, Molly Sutton, and the disappearance of a young British art student (the third woman to disappear from the village). The other characters in the village of Castillac are also complicated and flawed, and interactions among them serve as the backdrop for the story. Thus, the reader is simultaneously being introduced to expensive underwear hanging in the sun to dry, vicariously enjoying Molly's bakery-purchased croissants, and feeling the grief of the missing girl's parents. While the mystery takes center stage, village life is nearly a character unto itself--the dynamics among the persons who inhabit this rather insular, small community. Ms. Goddin's writing style is clear and at times, her descriptions are stunning. The only aspect of the book I found a little off-putting was the time-hops to the childhoods of several of the villagers, despite the fact they were dated as such. The mystery itself intensifies as the book moves along, the main character appears to grow emotionally somewhat, and the author kept me guessing incorrectly until the very end. She provided plenty of suspects but kept the clues in clear sight all the while. It was fun to visit a small French village for a couple of weeks and I will definitely read the next in the Molly Sutton series, which I believe currently consists of six books.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Forty-something, recently divorced Molly Sutton moves to a classic French village to begin a new life as the proprietor of a classic French gite (B&B). She falls in love with the ambiance and the villagers and already has some bookings. When a gifted English art student disappears, Those in town are especially worried, because two other young women disappeared a year or so earlier. Is there a serial killer living among them? The gendarmerie begin investigating, but there is frustratingly little t Forty-something, recently divorced Molly Sutton moves to a classic French village to begin a new life as the proprietor of a classic French gite (B&B). She falls in love with the ambiance and the villagers and already has some bookings. When a gifted English art student disappears, Those in town are especially worried, because two other young women disappeared a year or so earlier. Is there a serial killer living among them? The gendarmerie begin investigating, but there is frustratingly little to go on. The narrative switches between the work of the three officers and Molly’s observations of the reactions of her new neighbors. There are a few moments of mild suspense, but basically The Third Girl fits snugly into the cozy genre. While there is plenty of conversation there isn’t much action. Surprisingly when the setting is in the south of France, the author frequently mentions the beauty and charm of the village without actually describing it. With the exception of Molly herself, the characters are rather bland, and Molly is prone to making iffy decisions based upon emotion. As for the mystery, there are no clues that could lead the reader to discover whodunnit. Yawn.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    This was a very solid start to this mystery series. I really enjoyed it and the murderer was a complete surprise. I also liked how the author populated and created her world. You had a very strong sense of place and I really enjoyed the character of Molly, recent divorcee starting afresh. I will definitely keep an eye out for this author.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Releanna

    a pleasant cozy mystery, with nice French village, but a bit on the flat side with character development and solving the mystery.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    My favorite thing about this book was the description of the French village, the countryside, and the food. As far as a mystery, it was all right. There are several books in the series, and I would probably read another of these books if I could get it at the library.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Nice fun read. Molly moves to A small village in France after her divorce, buys a little house w/ income property, and settles in. Then a girl goes missing form the art college down the street. Like the characters and the mystery.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Pleasantly, Rambling Cozy. Well narrated. Not a cliffhanger.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lorraine Montgomery

    This is the first in the Molly Sutton mystery series by Nell Goddin, The Third Girl . A new author to me, Goddin has set her stories in a fictitious village in France, Castillac where the the gendarmerie consists of 3 officers and everyone knows everyone else's business or at least appears to know it. The sixth book in this series was published in Dec/16 and while the characters develop through the series, each book is a standalone mystery. Molly Sutton is an almost-40 American ex-pat who long This is the first in the Molly Sutton mystery series by Nell Goddin, The Third Girl . A new author to me, Goddin has set her stories in a fictitious village in France, Castillac where the the gendarmerie consists of 3 officers and everyone knows everyone else's business or at least appears to know it. The sixth book in this series was published in Dec/16 and while the characters develop through the series, each book is a standalone mystery. Molly Sutton is an almost-40 American ex-pat who longs to have children of her own and is putting her life together after a divorce. Having tried various careers, none of which were a good fit, she has come to the picturesque village of Castillac, bought a property with a house, a cottage, and several other outbuildings where she plans to rent her cottage to tourists and eventually to convert other outbuildings to rent as well. She has hardly begun her enterprise and is just beginning to know a few people, when a talented young female student from the local prestigious art school, L'Institut Degas, disappears without a trace. Despite the French law that says police do not investigate missing persons unless said person is a child, Chief Dufort and his two constables are determined to solve this mystery since Amy Bennett is the third girl to disappear in recent years and the first two cases are still open. Suddenly Molly no longer feels safe in her idyllic country setting. This mystery gives a delightful glimpse into French village life and the three gendarmerie have totally different personalities and approaches to their police work. There are lots of suspects in the small town, some of them local and some rival teachers at the art school, while flashbacks to the early history of some of them give the reader lots to think about. We meet the anguished parents who come to stay in Molly's cottage, several characters who haunt the local pub, Chez Papa, and some colourful market vendors. Molly doesn't actively do any sleuthing but tends to stumble upon information and is able to connect tidbits of gossip with the few facts unearthed to suddenly identify the murderer only to realize that he also knows she knows. Best not to retire that small can of mace after all. This is a kind of "cozy" mystery — nothing brutal or gory to speak of — and lots of everyday details of interest, interesting people, and a slice of France to be savoured along the way. There's a glossary at the back to explain the French terms sprinkled throughout the book — nothing very difficult to stand in the way of your enjoyment. I'm looking forward to reading others in this series. I did find the eBook hard to read as the print was quite small; it occasionally opened larger but always on the part I'd finished, not on the part ahead. But the story itself was well-written and extremely enjoyable.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    I enjoyed this. Good descriptions of the area helps to set the scene. Plenty to keep you interested all the way through. Loved the character of Molly and hope to read more about her.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kaia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 38 year old Molly from Boston seemed self absorbed and shallow. Who would leave Boston and buy a place in France, unseen, to start a B&B? Without knowing the area, with rudimentary language ability and understanding how the French usually treat outsiders until accepted? Who would be her targeted customers? Where was her marketing, break even point, and advertising plan? She must not have been fully committed because after meeting a lecherous old guy in the bar who constantly stared at her "fake" 38 year old Molly from Boston seemed self absorbed and shallow. Who would leave Boston and buy a place in France, unseen, to start a B&B? Without knowing the area, with rudimentary language ability and understanding how the French usually treat outsiders until accepted? Who would be her targeted customers? Where was her marketing, break even point, and advertising plan? She must not have been fully committed because after meeting a lecherous old guy in the bar who constantly stared at her "fake" boobs, Molly said she was ready to move. Since she had the enhancements at her husband's request years earlier, she must have encountered many people through the years who noticed the girls! Most of the book is boring stuff about her going to the local bakery and then to the bar each evening. Now back to the purpose of the story--a young woman disappears similar to 2 other ones over the previous ten years. (Forget about the other 2, they never are found). Towards the end of the book Molly stumbles across Amy's body buried under some trees. There is no build up as to who would have wanted Amy to disappear or why they would be a suspect. Even the parents coming to stay at Molly's added nothing to the story. Although not meant to be funny, I laughed when Molly could not find the parents because they were lighting candles for Amy in all the churches in the vicinity. And if the parents only left the room that one time during their stay, how did they eat? Molly even had to ask them to sit in the garden so the room could be cleaned--ridiculous! And the thought that one of the budding artists would be the next Pollock or Chagall was also inconsistent with the artists' style of painting and attributes of the periods in which they painted. Kill someone because they MIGHT become famous? Even the end was abrupt and pointless. Candy and junk food wrappers--PLEASE!!! Remy, a local man, was so lucky to escape from Molly. Although very good looking, Molly wrote him off for not having a connection with him because he looked at the sky and said "Gonna rain tomorrow." Only finished this because of a Book Club.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dick R. McCart

    Not quite up to middling Molly, the lead character, is a bit of a light weight. She worries about a killer ranging free, but takes walks in secluded places frequently. She gets very rattled over mildly stressful things. The way she figures things out is not as interesting as it could be. The French police take up about a fourth of the story and act with more sense. After all, the book is a cozy and falls within that range. The French location and food were fun, and it is a fast read..

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lise

    I didn’t love this book. I enjoyed the setting but Molly was not my favorite main character. Molly thought a lot but didn’t do much but weed her garden while listening to blues music, walk to town for pastries or drink kir at the bar while gossiping. Also she is stupidly careless with her own safety knowing there’s a abductor/murderer in their town. For example: “Molly was quite happy to be living alone, thank you very much, and she was not going to get frightened just because some young girl ra I didn’t love this book. I enjoyed the setting but Molly was not my favorite main character. Molly thought a lot but didn’t do much but weed her garden while listening to blues music, walk to town for pastries or drink kir at the bar while gossiping. Also she is stupidly careless with her own safety knowing there’s a abductor/murderer in their town. For example: “Molly was quite happy to be living alone, thank you very much, and she was not going to get frightened just because some young girl ran off with somebody else’s boyfriend. She stayed firm in her belief that her new country was much safer than her former one. Spitefully— although whom she was spiting was a little unclear —she left the French doors to the terrace not only unlocked but cracked open that night.” Why? She and everyone else know the girl didn’t run off so why be that willfully stupid? Also why walk alone out into the countryside without mace? (Again left at home because she’s not afraid.) Molly also just does stupid stuff like “ordering what she’s drinking” rather than think for herself then is surprised when the drink is terrible. “She narrowed her eyes at her drink and then took a long slurp of it, hating it but wanting to be done, making herself drink it instead of ordering something else as a kind of penance. Penance for what, was not clear.” Again, why? Molly doesn’t seem to like herself much so I don’t either. I found myself almost wanting her to be the fourth girl.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    First in the Molly Sutton murder mystery series, the Nell Goddin's The Third Girl starts as American Molly, newly divorced, starts her new life in a new country. Evocatively portraying the French countryside and people, author Nell Goddin even manages to imply the switches between languages semi-seamlessly, gradually adding to Molly’s halting vocabulary, and steadily inviting her, together with the reader, into the small-town community of Castillac. Natural conversations balance cultures perfect First in the Molly Sutton murder mystery series, the Nell Goddin's The Third Girl starts as American Molly, newly divorced, starts her new life in a new country. Evocatively portraying the French countryside and people, author Nell Goddin even manages to imply the switches between languages semi-seamlessly, gradually adding to Molly’s halting vocabulary, and steadily inviting her, together with the reader, into the small-town community of Castillac. Natural conversations balance cultures perfectly with cleverly surprising turns of phrase and a pleasingly French allure. The local bar and boulangerie provide calories, characters and theories aplenty once murder adds to the menu. The local cops bounce from bumbling to sure, with deep self-doubts well-balanced against well-trained certainties. Intuition plays its undeniable part. And America may not be the only place where violent death mars the peace. Rather like Miss Marple in France, with a pleasing touch and possibility of romance, Nell Goddin’s the Third Girl offers great scenery, great characters, intriguing mystery, and plenty of reason to return for more. Disclosure: I can’t remember why, but this and book two were a gift, and I really enjoyed them. Just sorry I didn’t read them sooner!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan Schmidt

    Nell Goddin's "Third Girl" has smooth, real dialogue that reveals character and propels the narrative. I'd like to stay in Molly Sutton's bed-and-breakfast in Castillac. A glossary helps interpret occasional French dialogue- "bon jour, merci". Warm pastries every morning are pain au chocolate, almond croissant, eclairs (ergo Beignet Books). So comfy and "cosy" until the murder becomes scary. I dove immediately into the second and third Molly Sutton books: I bought all seven and will not ration t Nell Goddin's "Third Girl" has smooth, real dialogue that reveals character and propels the narrative. I'd like to stay in Molly Sutton's bed-and-breakfast in Castillac. A glossary helps interpret occasional French dialogue- "bon jour, merci". Warm pastries every morning are pain au chocolate, almond croissant, eclairs (ergo Beignet Books). So comfy and "cosy" until the murder becomes scary. I dove immediately into the second and third Molly Sutton books: I bought all seven and will not ration them.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Ferguson

    Story started stronger than it finished. At times it had elements of humor, but very little. I like the heroine but then she takes a back seat to the more boring policemen. Mystery felt rushed to a resolution.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cate

    This book felt like the definition of "okay": it wasn't great, but it wasn't the worst thing I've read, and it kept me mostly entertained while I listened. I will admit, though, the moment I pressed pause not a single character or plot point stuck with me. To the point that I would go a few hours between listening and would have to actively try to remember what the book was about. Not incredibly memorable. The setting was sweet and quaint, though unrealistic. The author has clearly never moved t This book felt like the definition of "okay": it wasn't great, but it wasn't the worst thing I've read, and it kept me mostly entertained while I listened. I will admit, though, the moment I pressed pause not a single character or plot point stuck with me. To the point that I would go a few hours between listening and would have to actively try to remember what the book was about. Not incredibly memorable. The setting was sweet and quaint, though unrealistic. The author has clearly never moved to a new, small town or village before, because it takes MUCH longer than a week to break into those circles. Also, buying a house pretty much sight unseen and having it ready to host people in three days' time? Seems pretty unrealistic. The village seemed sweet (literally), with lots of food talk sprinkled throughout. At the first mention or two of the pastries there, my mouth was watering, but by the end of the book we had heard about them so many times that it got boring. My biggest complaint about this book was that there were not enough clues given for the reader to deduce who had committed the crime (or, at least, why they had done so). It was pretty obvious from the writing style (and flashbacks) who had done it, but the "evidence" against them was presented to readers after the fact, rather than being hinted at beforehand. This was also a classic example of telling-not-showing what happened to the protagonist, just when things started getting interesting. Instead, it stops there and we're told about it from the perspective of the next day. Finally, when it comes to an audiobook, this was pretty poorly done. Please, please, PLEASE when you're casting audiobooks that involve other languages, make sure that your reader can actually speak or properly pronounce the additional language!! There are plenty of bilingual folks who could have done a significantly better job. The awkward pronunciations and mispronunciations were quite jarring and distracting. The narrator wasn't bad, just keep her to English-only books from now on. Overall, if "cozy mystery" is your genre, this book is for you. As for me... I'm glad it was free.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    THE THIRD GIRL by Nell Goddin is Book 1 of the Molly Sutton Mysteries. Molly Sutton (in her late 30s) moves to the small village of Castillac in France’s southwestern region of the Dordogne. She is making a dramatic life change after a devastating divorce. (I would like to see more background on this event. We only have rare glimpses.) She uses what settlement monies she has to purchase a small house with a guest cottage which she uses as a ‘gite’ or French-style B&B. As she gets to know the vill THE THIRD GIRL by Nell Goddin is Book 1 of the Molly Sutton Mysteries. Molly Sutton (in her late 30s) moves to the small village of Castillac in France’s southwestern region of the Dordogne. She is making a dramatic life change after a devastating divorce. (I would like to see more background on this event. We only have rare glimpses.) She uses what settlement monies she has to purchase a small house with a guest cottage which she uses as a ‘gite’ or French-style B&B. As she gets to know the village and its inhabitants, Molly becomes part of the village’s interest in a missing student from the near-by art school. I did like the title. The characters were detailed and the location really interested me. There was a decent plot-line with some suspense. I enjoyed reading about the daily routines of the characters - cooking, gardening, the small market, the local cafe, the herbal tincture that the police chief ‘takes’ to relieve stress. I liked the basic French language glossary. I really wanted a map of the village and the region. It is a region known for its history and scenery and caves and wine and ducks. A little more local ‘color’ would have been nice. The title reminded me a little bit too much of Martin Walker’s Bruno series. But readers are very intrigued with France and its language and customs. (I will give this comment a pass until I have read more titles in the series.) As a Cozy Mystery, I would rate the book 4 stars ****. As a general mystery, I would have to give it three stars ***. I am eager to read the second book in the series. Who doesn’t want to spend time in a small French village?

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