Catching up (again) with Author Fiona Leitch

I am delighted to be joining the blog tour for the wonderful book, Falling in Louvre by a favourite author (and person), Fiona Leitch.

Book Cover: A Parisian street with two people kissing on a balcony and the Eiffel Tower in the background. Through a window across the way, there is the Mona Lisa.

Tell us what inspired you to write Falling in Louvre?

Back in 2016, there were huge floods in Paris. The Seine burst its banks, Metro lines were closed after tunnels flooded, and the basement storage area of the Louvre also ended up under water. In order to protect the artefacts stored in the basement, the Louvre was closed and everything moved onto higher floors. I thought, what a fantastic time for an art heist! While everything is topsy turvy! I was working as a cleaner at the time, and I liked the idea of someone who was constantly underestimated and almost invisible being responsible for a massive art theft (which the Netflix show Lupin has done brilliantly since). But I also wanted them to be sympathetic, to not be your usual criminals, and so I decided to tie it in with a love story. Plus I’d been to Paris the year before, and it’s such an atmospheric city – no wonder so many stories are set there! I wanted to use some of the less well known parts of the city.

What do you hope readers will take away from Falling in Louvre?

I hope they fall in love with Sylvie and Philippe, as well as Paris. I hope they see as well that no problem is insurmountable, but you can’t always do it on your own and there’s no shame in asking for help.

What’s your most recent read that you’d like to recommend?

I recently read Richard Osman’s debut novel, The Thursday Murder Club, and loved it. Great to see some older characters take centre stage, and not all be doddery old dears! I love the gentle humour and the twisty plot too. Plus I’ve lived in some of the places in the book, which was nice.

What has been your author highlight over the past year?

There have been several! Probably the first three books in my cosy mystery series being released, and signing a contract for three more. And co-writing something completely different with you, Sandy!

What are you working on now?

The next three books in the Nosey Parker series – editing number 4, writing number 5, and planning number 6! I also have another, very different, completely standalone novel set in New Zealand that I want to write.

Blurb for Falling in Louvre

Bertrand is King of the Pigeons…

Unofficially. From his perch atop a gargoyle on Notre Dame cathedral, he surveys his kingdom. He sees Sylvie Cloutier, art lover and ex-antiques dealer, making dinner for her bullying husband Henri, trapped in their loveless marriage like a bird in a gilded cage. He sees security guard, hopeless romantic and bookworm Philippe Moreau cycling through the streets of Paris in his crumpled uniform, late (again) for his night shift at the museum.

When Sylvie begs her husband to let her go to work, he gets her a job as an evening cleaner at the Louvre. He thinks such a menial position will dispel any ideas about independence she might have, but his plan backfires when she falls in love with kind, gentle Philippe. They decide to run away together, but there’s a major problem: neither of them has any money.

One stormy night in the Louvre, the answer to their prayers falls into their lap… But is it really the solution, or just another, even bigger problem?

What follows is a romantic, wistful but madcap adventure through (and under) the city of lights, involving a stolen painting, an art heist in reverse, and Eric Cantona. Will love find a way?

My review of Falling in Louvre

This is a wonderfully written book, with moments of humour, a slow-burn romance, and a deep dive into an important issue all wrapped up in a heist. Terrific mashup from the Queen of Mashups – highly recommended for romance readers, cosy mystery readers, and those who want to read something special.

Where to get it

All online bookstores:

More about Fiona

Author Fiona Leitch. A middle-aged blonde woman with shoulder length hair and dark rimmed glasses and a pink-lipsticked smile.

Fiona Leitch is a writer with a chequered past. She’s written for football and motoring magazines, DJ’ed at illegal raves and is a stalwart of the low budget TV commercial, even appearing as the Australasian face of a cleaning product called ‘Sod Off’. After living in London and Cornwall she’s finally settled in sunny New Zealand, where she enjoys scaring her cats by trying out dialogue on them. She spends her days dreaming of retiring to a crumbling Venetian palazzo, walking on the windswept beaches of West Auckland, and writing funny, flawed but awesome female characters.

Follow Fiona

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Great to have you on Off the Beaten track, Fiona. I loved Falling in Louvre and no doubt your readers will love it too.

Paris Lite

Note to self: do not get the flu the day you are going to Paris.

I have been to Paris nine times. I realize that this is an obnoxious comment, but it is true.

A long time ago, in a galaxy that seems far, far away, I was a Tour Manager for a company who specialized in European tours for 18-35 year olds and we began each tour in Paris.

The most recent trip to Paris was going to be different. Mainly because I would not have 50 people following me around. And also because we would be staying at a hotel in the city, and not a campsite outside the Periphique.

Ben and I had planned a trip to Paris for four nights, five days, arriving on a Monday at Gare du Nord via the Eurostar. It was going to be grand.

As luck would have it, however, I came down with the flu the day before we arrived and it hit me full-force for the first three days of our trip. In my delirium I struggled to answer the question, “how do we salvage this?” Then I cried a little, out of frustration, and then I slept.

For the first two days, I stayed in bed, while my intrepid love traveled the depth and breadth of the city, seeing some of its most prestigious sites. In the afternoons, after at least a dozen hours of sleep, I made myself presentable and headed out to meet him.

The weather was glorious. 80F/27C and sunshine. Loads and loads of sunshine. How could I not feel better?


Although Paris is a city to walk, much like NYC, we availed ourselves of other forms of transportation when the walking got too much for me. Quick hops on the Paris Metro allowed us to traverse the city and hit the highlights, and a Batobus ticket gave us unlimited passage up and down the Seine for one day.

We even participated in the sweet, but increasingly cliched practiced of affixing a lock with our names on it to a bridge.


We had seen this before while walking the Cinque Terre in Italy, and this time we couldn’t resist joining in. We paid our four Euros to an enterprising young man on the bridge, carved our initials and wrote over them in permanent marker, and then locked our lock into place. We threw a key into the Seine and sealed the whole deal with a kiss. Cheesy? Maybe. Romantic? Definitely.

By day four, I was feeling well enough to venture out with Ben in the morning, and we headed to the southern part of the city to visit the catacombs. In all my previous trips to Paris, I had never been to the catacombs. There was a wait of about 90 minutes, but we passed it in good spirits and soon enough we were inside.


The tour is an interesting mixture of geology, history and spirituality. There was something fascinating about the way the bones were stacked, but I concede that the tour would not be for everyone. I joked that they would have us exit through the gift-shop, until we emerged into the brightness only to find that directly across the street from the exit, was in fact, a gift shop. We bought fridge magnets. How could we not?

That afternoon we also visited Musee d’Orsay, which I would name as my favorite museum. Period. They have significantly changed the Impressionists’ wing, but it still holds some of the most exquisite paintings I have ever seen.

And I loved this:


Another place I had never been to was the Rodin Museum, so we made an effort to get there on one of the sunny afternoons I met up with Ben. There are two admission prices, one for the museum (his former home) and garden, and it is only one Euro to access the garden only.

I imagine that if I lived close by, I would pay the one Euro quite frequently just to sit in the beautiful garden.


I was taken with many of his pieces, especially this one:


By the last evening I was starting to feel better, but as luck would have it again, Ben was struck with food poisoning. This curtailed our plans to go up the Eiffel Tower the next morning, but we remind ourselves that this was only our first trip to Paris together. There will surely be another.

And despite everything we managed to hit the highlights.


Ah, Paris…’til next time.

French Women Don’t Get Fat (???)


A few years ago I read a break-through book by Mireille Guliano, who purported that French women (typically) do not get fat, because – and this is especially true for Parisian women – they walk everywhere, and eat small portions of all foods. They do not subscribe to the notion that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, and as they do not deprive themselves of a small taste of any food they like, they do not binge. And, they do not get fat.

I would like to offer forth an additional chapter to the book.

Chapter One: Take Up Smoking

I just spent a week in Paris – with the flu. I was particularly sensitive to cigarette smoke, being that my lungs were already on fire and I had great difficulty breathing. Cigarette smoke is pervasive in Paris.

The law must dictate only that one must be ‘al fresco’ to smoke. This can mean smoking in a doorway, a conservatory, a porch, a doorstep, a veranda and a patio are all acceptable. And this of course means that the affixed indoor venue fills with smoke.

Many, if not most, of the offenders I saw were women. Thin French women. ‘Nough said.