Book Title: Till Death Do Us Part (Poireaut & Di Angeli, Book 1)
Author: Dieter Moitzi
Release Date: June 24, 2020
Cover Artist: Dieter Moitzi
Genre/s: Cosy Murder Mystery
Trope/s: M/M romance, enemies to lovers, slow-burn, HFN, holidays
Themes: painful past, Egypt, cosy, slow romance, holidays
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: approx. 101 750 words/approx. 305 pages
It is a standalone book.
Come on board the Queen of Egypt and discover this new murder mystery full of witty dialogs, funny situations, and blooming love! Already short-listed for the French Gay Book Award 2020!
When Auntie Agathe invites Raphaël Poireaut, a young Parisian bartender, on a Nile cruise, he isn’t really thrilled. To stare at old stones together with a bunch of old codgers—why, thanks for the gift. Unsurprisingly the trip starts off badly enough. Not only does Raphaël have an unnerving confrontation with a handsome but standoffish and haughty Italian guy, but he has barely stepped on board the cruise ship when he stumbles upon a tourist… who has been stabbed to death.
The young Venetian Stefano di Angeli agrees to spend his vacation in Egypt with his best friend Grazia. He hasn’t had holidays for six years. But his first encounter with a young, angel-faced, curly-haired Frenchie brings back painful memories. Besides, what could be worse to start a Nile cruise than to discover a murder has been committed on board? Cazzo—fate seems to bear him a grudge!
While the Egyptian police led by Colonel Al-Qaïb are investigating the murder, Raphaël and Stefano find themselves swept away by the events… and by the blooming feelings that inexorably draw them closer. Will they manage to sort out the truth from the lies and find the murderer? Will they be able to resist this mutual attraction that seems to overwhelm them against their wills?
A new, funny and light adventure by the author of “The Stuffed Coffin”, the French version of which has won the French Gay Murder Mystery Award 2019.
GUEST POST FROM DIETER MOITZI
How I “stole” Raphaël and Stefano
Creating satisfying and plausible characters is a complex process. It’s part invention, part observation, part guesswork, part burning incense sticks and giving prayers to the Muses. But sometimes, things can be much simpler, as was the case of Raphaël and Stefano, the two main characters of my new series, Poireaut & Di Angeli. You see, I simply stole them.
Picture this: early 2019. I had just published my first novel “The Stuffed Coffin” and been nominated for the French Gay Books Award (I did win it, by the way, for Best Murder Mystery). That’s when my boyfriend came up with this idea: why not write a novel together? Yep, four-handed, like. I accepted, because others have done it before, so why not we, right? We started brainstorming, and the first thing we agreed upon (after a lot of discussing and haggling) were the two main characters. A young Frenchie, openly gay, working in a gay bar in Paris, cut off from his unsupportive family and artistically inclined (a matter to be fine-tuned later). We wanted the second lad to be Italian, from a rich and aristocratic Venetian family whose prestigious family business he should be running (something to do with deluxe cloths and fabrics), and he ought to be more or less a closet-case.
We even had a faint idea of how the two should meet and where the rest of the story should take place, but that’s how far things went. Now, you need to know that my boyfriend is a very well-organized man, the gods bless him. He’s the one I have to thank for my tolerably sound financial situation, not because he’s rich—we’d both love that—, but because when we met, he pushed me to plan ahead (meaning minimum bookkeeping, yuck) and not to spend more money than I have. Revelation: that was a scheme I’d always considered a shameful waste of time but one that actually worked! Of course, he wanted to apply the same method to our writing project. After we had created the outlines of the characters and the plot, he wanted to fine-tune everything immediately, little step by little step, before starting to write the first paragraphs.
Which is absolutely not how I tackle my books. At. All. You see, when I have an idea (often a very sudden inspiration), I simply open my word processor and start typing away. When I come back out of my writing-daze, I discover some thousand words have been written, and I take it from there, the flow carrying me away. Sub-plots, characters, twists and turns invent and fine-tune themselves almost of their own accord as I proceed. It’s a chaotic, unpredictable method where paragraphs, sometimes whole chapters may be thrown out, put somewhere else or entirely rewritten in the process, where nonexistent characters are added at the end because the book needs them or pivotal characters eliminated because they’re unsatisfactory. A method, in short, that makes any well-organized person cross themselves and brandish a string of garlic.
When our creative collaboration came to an end (nothing abrupt, our interest simply petered out at one moment), the project was buried. But last summer, I had one of those sudden inspirations for a new book. The setting, the plot, the murder victim, the murderer, all was there in my head. As always, I sat before my computer and typed for two hours. That evening I read the whole first chapter to my boyfriend, who found it nice and encouraged me to go on. He also said, “But… the two guys sound familiar, don’t they? I don’t recognize the names, but their characters… have we met them before? Someone we know?”
That’s when I realized… I had inadvertently stolen our nonchalant Frenchie and our haughty Italian. The two protagonists of our little project. I had changed their names (simply because I didn’t remember the names we had given them) to Raphaël Poireaut and Stefano di Angeli, and I had changed their looks: blond curls for the former, black hair and hipster-haircut for the latter. But background, characters, and the rest matched, all right.
Of course, I explained the matter—a no-secrets-policy is the best warrant for peace in any household—and was graciously allowed to keep my main characters.
I sealed the deal with a kiss.
The young guy hears my quiet steps, or he senses my gaze. He turns around.
Oh, hel-lo, man! My heart does a backwards flip. In my job I meet handsome guys aplenty. But this one is a class of his own. His face could be that of a male model, I kid you not. As if one of those unreal guys had stepped out of the glossy pages of Vogue Homme or GQ. Manly features, sensual mouth. Square chin, Roman nose, neatly trimmed designer stubble. His forehead is bare, his dense hair styled backwards and falling behind his left ear in a natural, lazy wave as if doing it spontaneously.
Alas, my immediate interest isn’t shared. On the contrary, he reacts as if suddenly facing a monster. He should be thankful the rail in his back prevents him from moving too far back and falling into the Nile.
Quite a boost for my self-esteem.
The handsome cretin pulls himself together at the last moment and scans me from head to toe. His cold gaze hovers over my naked chest, and he frowns, his eyebrows bushy but perfectly drawn. I notice that his whole body-language exudes barely concealed distance and aversion.
Despite his hostility, I murmur, “Hi”. Somewhat coolly perhaps, but still. I was raised like that. All right, I add “Asshole!” in my head, because, hello?
The young man answers with a nod. A black lock falls over his eyes, he puts it back in place. He seems to hesitate, then turns his back on me again.
Okay, asshole. Go ahead, continue your moody brooding, I don’t care. I don’t need no mens, even if they’re handsome as fuck.
HALF AN HOUR LATER, THE sun has started its race across the pristine sky for good; the heat has risen as well. The hipster slash asshole is still sulking in his corner when I sit on a shady deckchair. Our meeting was unpleasant, but he and the guy in pink belie my initial prognosis, and that’s a good start. We’re at least three on this boat to contemplate our sixties from below.
With the back of my hand, I wipe off the sweat trickling down my chest and soaking my chest hair. I realize I’m thirsty. There’s a bottle of water in the fridge in my cabin. Let’s go get it. You always need to stay hydrated, as Auntie would say. Granted, she means drinks, as in alcoholic beverages, but that doesn’t make it wrong.
The man in the pink tracksuit has apparently seen enough, too. When I get to the top of the stairs, he’s on the last step.
He’s waiting downstairs, holding the door for me.
“Thank you,” I say.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” he remarks in an affable tone.
I look up in surprise. His beautifully low voice doesn’t match his puny physique and the mousey face. He makes an affected hand movement. “The landscape, I mean. The light.”
Automatically, I think, Oh. Family. “Very beautiful indeed,” I reply. “And ‘splendid things gleam in the dust’…”
Recognizing the Flaubert-quote, he laughs good-heartedly.
The swinging door closes behind us. Another door slams softly somewhere down the corridor. In the first cabin, I hear a woman say heatedly, “… I think he got it. He won’t bother you anymore, tweety.”
Tweety! Smirk. I really wouldn’t want to be pet-named tweety.
We pass other cabins; the vague noises of conversations, no more than murmurs, drifting out. I can hear showers running as well. The ship is waking up. A nice smell wafts through the corridor, a woody, leathery perfume for men that strikes me as familiar. The pink, mousey guy in front of me must have sprinkled himself with it.
A few doors before mine, the young man stops. “See you later,” he says.
“See you later,” I reply. When I pass behind him, I get a whiff a his pronounced citrus perfume, very fresh, very pungent. Oh. He’s not the source of the leathery perfume smell…
He turns the key and opens the door. “Mon chéri—are you awake?” he asks. The door closes behind him.
I was right. Mon chéri, not ma chérie. He is family. I’m not the only gay guy on this ship.
I walk to my door while rummaging in my shorts pockets. Let’s see… mobile… pencil… notepad… h-m. Where have I put my keys? Did I take them? Damn—don’t tell me I locked myself out…!
A YELL. “AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!”
I JUMP, turn around, gaze down the empty corridor. What was it? Who was it? Where was it? What am I supposed to do?
“MY GOD! MICHEL!”
A bad feeling bubbles up in my guts.
For a longer excerpt, please visit my author page: http://dietermoitzi.com/till-death-do-us-part
About the Author
Born in the early 70s, I grew up in a little village in Austria. At the age of 18, I moved to Vienna to get my master’s degree in Political Sciences, French, and Spanish. Today, I’m living in Paris, France, with my boyfriend and work as a graphic designer.
In my spare time, I write, read, cook fancy recipes, take photos, and as often as I can, I travel (Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Egypt, the UK, and many more places). My literary tastes are eclectic, ranging from fantasy, murder mysteries, gay romances to dystopian novels, but I won’t say no to poetry or a history book either. I’m more a hoodie/jeans/sneakers kind of guy than a suit-and-tie chap.
So far, I’ve published two short-story collections as well as four poetry collections. My first murder mystery novel “The Stuffed Coffin” featuring Damien Drechsler and the dashing Greek student Nikos has been released on January 6, 2019 and is also available in German and French. The French version has won the prestigious French Gay Murder Mystery Award 2019 (Prix du roman policier – Prix du roman gay 2019). You can also find me on Rainbow Book Reviews, where I write book reviews under the pseudonym of ParisDude (for French reviews, have a look at my review site livresgay.fr).