Title: Till Death Do Us Part
Series: Poireaut & Di Angeli, Book 1
Author: Dieter Moitzi
Publisher: Dieter Moitzi
Published: 24 June 2020
Cover Design: Dieter Moitzi
Length: 101 750 words/approx. 305 pages
Keywords : Cosy Murder Mystery, M/M romance, enemies to lovers,
slow-burn, HFN, holidays, painful past, Egypt, cosy, slow,
Add To: Goodreads
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.
Author Spot Light
What’ll I do when I grow up—ambassador, scholar, graphic designer, or… writer?
Strange how our profession is sometimes determined by pure chance. When I was younger, I wanted to become an ambassador. Yes, really, I swear! I know; those who know me still find the very idea chuckle-worthy as I’m neither renowned for my sense of diplomacy nor for my ambassador-compatible look (jeans, T-shirts, hoodies, shaved head, pierced nose), without mentioning my lifestyle. I’m gay, you see, and have been happily almost-married to my boyfriend for the last twelve years. Very un-ambassadorly behaviour, I daresay.
At a later stage, I changed my plans and wanted to teach political sciences at university. That never happened, either, because I moved to Paris on a whim (yes, I was young and reckless; and yes, a guy was involved). I’ve become a graphic designer instead.
What I never thought I’d become, however, was a writer.
All right, my first attempt at writing occurred at a rather precocious age, when I was ten or eleven. I decided nonchalantly I’d write a full-blown novel. In German, of course, which is my mother tongue. Its main characters were an urbane American family of four—Dad, Mum, a girl, and a boy—who set out in a camper van to drive around the US. I planned to cram it with breathtaking adventures and detailed, poetic descriptions of touristic sites. The project was doomed from the beginning—don’t forget we’re talking about pre-Internet years here. Firstly, I was too young to know how to write. Secondly, I wasn’t living in the US but in a small village in the Austrian Alps and had therefore no insight whatsoever into Americans’ lives and mindsets. Thirdly, I’d never even been in a camper van. I proceeded, though, writing feverishly and courageously until… my four fictional adventurers reached Mount Rushmore. That’s when I realized I neither knew where to place it geographically nor who the four (or three? or five?) Mount Rushmore-chaps were supposed to be.
All right. Project canceled.
To be honest, after that crushing attempt, I waited several decades, for different reasons, before I thought about writing a novel again. Growing up and starting to go to work Monday to Friday would do that to you, right?
In fact, if I started writing again, my ex-boyfriend is somehow to blame. I was bored with him, with me, with us, but afraid to split up. So, I came up with an idea for a novel. It took me over three years to finish it in German, after which I sent it to several publishers in Germany, sure of my impending success. Instead of success, I was rewarded with loads of rejection letters. A friend then told me to translate the whole story into French. I heeded his advice, realizing in the process that translators are sorely underpaid—theirs is a truly painstaking and tedious job. Anyway, when it was finished and duly sent out, the French publishers were just as underwhelmed as their German counterparts had been. Together with a new bunch of rejection letters I stuffed the novel into a drawer, certain I’d never look at that ill-fated text again.
Well, as chance would have it, I was mistaken. I did take up that ill-fated text again in early 2018, noticing after the first few paragraphs that by sending me their standard rejection letters the publishers had been very polite. My own verdict was, ‘This is shite!’ (pardon my French). I realized however that the plot-idea remained sound. So, I started again from scratch, keeping only the storyline and the main characters. A few months later, lo and behold, I had done it. “Le cercueil farci”, self-published, available in Kindle- and paperback format, in German, in English (“The Stuffed Coffin”), and in French. For the record, instead of translating the book, I simply took the French version and rewrote the whole thing in English and German. To my utter amazement, the French version even won the French Best Gay Murder Mystery Award 2019.
That’s when I knew I liked writing a lot. An idea for a follow-up popped up in my mind almost immediately (it’s my next project, by the way, a sequel to “The Stuffed Coffin”), but another, more urgent plot idea took precedence. I had visited Egypt in 2018 together with my boyfriend, we had loved it, and I wanted to use the Nile and the touristic sites as the setting for a new story. From finding the idea to writing the last paragraph, I took roughly seven months. Et voilà, here we are now waiting for this new “baby” of mine to be released in English: “Till Death Do Us Part”, book one of the Poireaut & Di Angeli-series, with exotic landscapes, wry humour, cute-as-they-come main characters, a cozy murder mystery, and a cute romance…
Anyway. I still have my day job. Graphic-designing things is what fills (somewhat) my bank account. But I know one thing for sure now: when I grow up (maybe that’ll happen one day, who knows?), I wanna be a writer.
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
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).