The Readers Room – Antoine Laurain, An Uplifting Mystery

The Readers Room is the fourth book I’ve read by Antoine Laurain, one of my favourite authors. Antoine Laurain is one of the rare writers in which I always discover a new perfume in each of his books, smile and wonder about the places he creates. His latest book, The Readers Room, did not disappoint me either.


Since The Readers Room is set in the publishing world and the protagonist is a fascinating female editor, it won my heart as soon as I started reading. On the one hand, you will read an engaging mystery novel while reading the daily operation of a publishing house in Paris. Of course, as with every book of Antoine Laurain, you will be amazed by the magical atmosphere in this one. Oh, and you will meet living and non-living writers, wander through the back rooms of the literary world and witness how lives change in an instant.

The Readers Room -  Antoine Laurain

One day, a detective novel arrives at the publishing house, and everyone in the reading room is fascinated by this novel called Sugar Flowers. They definitely want to publish the novel and immediately contact the author via email because the book’s author did not leave any information other than their email address. Sugar Flowers is published before the author even sets foot in the publishing house and suddenly becomes a great success. It is even shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt, one of France’s most important literary awards.

Publishers who are happy to publish such an excellent book have a small problem. The author has disappeared after mailing them the contract and is not responding to their emails. The book named Sugar Flowers, whose author could not be found and nominated for one of the most prestigious awards, seems to be creating a problem for the publishing house. However, this is not their only concern.

When the murders in the crime novel Sugar Flowers begin to be committed one-on-one, the police want to visit Violaine Lepage, the publishing house editor. The purpose of the police is to contact the author and ask questions about the murders committed. However, she finds it difficult to believe that the publishing house does not know the author’s whereabouts. While Violaine Lepage is dealing with this problem, she also has issues with her memory due to a plane crash she has been through. While questioning her place in all this mess, she will discover many things about herself.

The Readers Room is one of those strangely satisfying books. Although I found it different from Antoine Laurain’s previous books, the author preserved his unique and very attractive narrative in this book as well. If you want to read a light detective story about literature and publishing set in Paris, I recommend it. Enjoy!

The Readers Room - Antoine Laurain

The Readers Room

The Readers Room: When the manuscript of a debut crime novel arrives at a Parisian publishing house, everyone in the readers’ room is convinced it’s something special. And the committee for France’s highest literary honour, the Prix Goncourt, agrees.

But when the shortlist is announced, there’s a problem for editor Violaine Lepage: she has no idea of the author’s identity. As the police begin to investigate a series of murders strangely reminiscent of those recounted in the book, Violaine is not the only one looking for answers. And, suffering memory blanks following an aeroplane accident, she’s beginning to wonder what role she might play in the story …

Antoine Laurain, bestselling author of The Red Notebook, combines intrigue and charm in this dazzling novel of mystery, love and the power of books:The Readers Room.

‘The plot blends mystery with comedy to great effect’- Daily Mail

‘A profound love of books and authors underpins this sprightly mystery’ – Publishers Weekly

‘A stylish whodunnit blended with an affectionate send-up of the world of books’ Sunday Mirror

The Readers Room: Another winner for Laurain’ – European Literature Network

Antoine Laurain

Antoine Laurain is a novelist, screenwriter, journalist, director and collector of antique keys. A truly born and bred Parisian, after studying film, he began his career directing short films and writing screenplays. His passion for art led him to take a job assisting an antiques dealer in Paris. The experience provided the inspiration for his first novel, The Portrait, winner of the Prix Drouot.

Published on the eve of the French presidential elections of 2012, Antoine’s fairytale-like novel The President’s Hat was acclaimed by critics, readers and booksellers, who awarded it the Prix Landerneau Découvertes. The English translation was a Waterstones Book Club and ABA Indies Introduce pick, and a Kindle Top 5 bestseller. This novel, full of Parisian charm, was the winner of the Prix Relay des Voyageurs, a prize which celebrates the enjoyment of reading. Since then, The President’s Hat has been adapted for television in France.

Antoine Laurain

Antoine’s novels have been translated into over twenty languages, including Arabic and Korean. Sales of his books across all formats in English have surpassed 180,000 copies, and The Red Notebook (2015) has become one of Gallic Books’ bestsellers both in the UK and the USA, and has been selected for HRH the Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room.
Also published: French Rhapsody (2016), The Portrait (2017), Smoking Kills (2018) and Vintage 1954 (2019).

Antoine’s latest novel The Readers Room was published September 2020 from Gallic Books and will be out in mass market paperback in June 2021.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Read Around the World, A Great Journey

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