Tuesday, October 03, 2006


From Le Monde:

Chantal Pelletier is a wonderful storyteller; she captures your heart in three short sentences......A classic roman noir hero, the world weary inspector, is completely reinvented.

This novel won the Grand Prix du Roman Noir De Cognac in 2001 and I did enjoy it, as it full of interesting characters.

Maurice Laice "more is less" is a detective so depressed by his past and his bleak existence that it is a wonder he does not voluntarily join the long list of dead bodies in the book. Maurice is about as far from Guido Brunetti as you can get, and makes Montalbano, Morse, Rebus and Banks seem happy positive extrovert successes in comparison.

His lesbian boss Aline Lefevre delights in humiliating and teasing him with her sexual exploits. Her "someone special" is described as a red headed Catherine Deneuve, while poor Maurice has an empty love life, and lives in a bachelor's squalor. No wonder he is depressed.

The French do have a different attitude to sex than Americans, or the British, and I am very broadminded, but this book went too far in my opinion in its sexual content. I lived in London's Chelsea for many years, so I am not easily shocked, but describing sex with animals does go beyond my boundaries.

This was a pity because apart from this and a general preoccupation with sex, explained by the fact it is set in France, the story which ranged from Montmatre to Corsica, and involved drugs and real estate scams, was quite good.

Maurice Laice and Aline Lefevre are something different in the world of crime fiction, but I would be wary of reading any of Chantal Pelletier's books if you are in any way squeamish.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me, can you stop posting about all these wonderful books that I haven't read? I'm going mad. I'll have to ship out one of my children soon to make way for all the books that I order...

11:15 AM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'd say squeamish readers have more to worry about from the gory murder scene than from the sex. (insert enigmatic Gallic shrug here.) And good headline on your post! You could succeed in my business. In fact, maybe you could fill in for me some time when I want to take a few days off.
Detectives Without Borders
"Because Murder is More Fun Away from Home"

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You committed a slight glitch in your spelling of the author's name. It's Chantal Pelletier, no n.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Maxine, I will have to slow down my postings as I think your children are too young to be "shipped" out to fend for themselves.

Anon, Thanks for pointing out my glitch, obviously I was still thinking about a red headed Catherine Deneuve, and not concentrating on my spelling.

Peter,thanks for your kind comment.
Can I use it as a reference? I would certainly fill in for you whenever you want to take time off, does the position come with a green card?

On a very much more serious subject I think the whole world has been shaken by the recent school shootings in Lancaster County. That such violence could intrude into the peaceful world of the Amish is quite shattering. My wife Diana and I felt very sad because we had spent such happy holidays visiting Amish areas. Their land has a simple beauty that radiates calm, especialy to those who come from our very crowded island. We stayed in New Holland quite close to where this dreadful act was perpetrated, and on another vacation visited Amish farms in Daviess County, Indiana and Lawrence County, Tennessee. This has been a terrible tragedy, and everyone involved has our deepest sympathy.

6:12 AM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Uriah, I spent a holiday with an ex-girlfriend in Paradise, where the shootings happened. Lancaster County is more or less within my newspaper's circulation area, and we gave the shootings prominent coverage. It was eerie to see pictures and maps that had such a familiar look to them.

There was a quotation in one of my newspaper's stories to the effect that "If this can happen among the Amish, it can happen to anyone." There apparently was nothing wild and psychotic and disheveled about this gunman, as one as grown to expect from the sad recurrence of such stories. I found much to admire about the Amish in my brief visit among them. But who knows what can lurk in such a relatively closed society? Probably the same passions and psychoses that lurk in the rest of us, only concealed better.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The glitch remains in the citation from the Monde review. But yes, a red-headed Catherine Deneuve could take one's mind off such matters.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Anon thanks, now sorted.

Peter, we bought a lovely Amish quilt near Paradise, which we have on our wall reminding us of that holiday. Unfortunately now we will also think of that crime.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

This is utterly, completely, 100 percent off-topic, but I've been waiting for this chance. Here in Philadelphia, we have a politician named Michael Nutter -- a smart, rational and respected man, as it happens -- who has resigned his seat on City Council in order to run for mayor, where he would succeed John Street.

The word nutter, of course, will have meanings for British readers that it will lack for Americans, and I've always wondered how British readers happening to see my newspaper online might react when seeing a headline like this one, which appears in Friday's edition of the paper's print versions:

Nutter: Street could
do more on violence

A nutter will always find a good audience in Philadelphia.

Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder is More Fun Away From Home"

11:03 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

I think the name Nutter might be a little bit of a handicap for a politician in the UK.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Could be worse. I went to college with someone whose last name was Wankoff.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

You sure, it sounds like a character from a Fawlty Towers episode. I can imagine Basil having a slight problem booking a
Mr and Mrs W.... into his hotel.
But enough this is a family website!

5:49 AM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Here in the U.S., where presidential candidates choose a vice-presidential running mate, I imagine a dream ticket of Wankoff and Nutter. In the U.K., imagine the fun if the prosaic Blair and Brown had been named Wankoff and Nutter instead -- secret rumors abounding about Wankoff forcing Nutter out of Labor leadership.

3:30 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home