Claude Izner happens to be the pen names of 2 sisters, Liliane Korb and Laurence Lefevre. Both are booksellers on the banks of the Seine, they are both experts on ninteenth-century Paris.
There are 4 books currently in the series:
Murder on the Eiffel Tower
The Pere-Lachaise Mystery
The Montmartre Investigation
The Marais Assassin
A 5th book is due for release in July 2010 - The Predator of Batignolles
The books follow the adventures of bookselling amateur sleuth Victor Legris and his long suffering assistant Joseph (Jojo) both of whom get involved in a series of murder mysteries in the city of Paris and set out to solve them. the adventures are played out in 1890s Paris. I won't give anything away but would happily recommend them to any reader.
When reading The Montmartre Investigation only yesterday I came across a reference to Jane Avril which made me smile no end. It goes like this:
"Waiter, a beer with a little less head,' shrieked Alphonse Allais, suddenly shaking off his torpor. "Where is Jane Avril?........
Pleased with this tirade, Grille d'Egout tossed off the rest of her beer while Alphonse Allais pushed back his chair roughly and ran after a slim, graceful woman with red hair and a black hat.
"Poor Alphonse, she drives him wild."
"Who is she?" asked Victor.
"Jane Avril, La Goulue says Avril has legs like curtain rods but she kicks them in rhythm, and she's right. She was committed when she was a kid, yes, my dear; under the care of Professor Charcot, and they say that's where she learnt to swing her hips. It's true! Apparently to entertain the innmates they'd get in dance teachers and organise parties and balls. Balls for the loonies, I ask you! Jane Avril gives us the cold shoulder; she dances alone. What do they see in her? She's nothing but skin and bone! They call her "Honey"; I would call her "Sonny".
Take a squint at the painter dwarf - he's smitten!"
No prizes for guessing the smitten little painter! :-)