Book reviews by country: France

For my series this summer, I am providing selections of book reviews by country. Either the author is from the country named in the post, or the book is set there.

Chartres Cathedral, France
For today's country, France, I have seven reviews, among them assessments of two books by Dominique Manotti and three by Fred Vargas, so I haven't been very adventurous in this part of the world and must rectify that.

One novel that isn't by either of these authors is Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker, who is not French but has lived there part-time for many years. From my review: "Although in many respects this is a "feel-good" book, providing an idyllic and partisan depiction of the French country way of life which exists still despite the efforts of the relentless modern world to homogenize it, the author is not afraid to address difficult issues head-on, personal and political. The stories of the French resistance in the Nazi regime and the fate of the French North Africans during the DeGaulle years are sombre, told with authority and style, as one might expect from an author who has written distinguished histories (as well as a previous novel about the famous prehistoric art in the caves of the region) and covered many international conflicts during his journalistic career. I am glad that BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE is the first in a series, as I look forward to reading more about this charmingly self-deprecating man, his past (plenty of angles are hinted at) and his neighbours – not forgetting, of course, his next criminal case."

The author has now written and published two more novels in this series, The Dark Vineyard and Black Diamond –  the jackets have become sombre and moody rather than jolly and bright, perhaps indicating a shift of emphasis. They are both on my shelf waiting patiently to be read, so I hope soon to find out.

My France reviews.

6 thoughts on “Book reviews by country: France

  1. Thank you for these reviews and the lovely photograph. I have read all of the translated Vargas and love them. Manotti and Walker are now on my TBR list (luckily, my library has the Walker books, so one less book to get from the Book Depository).
    Pierre Magnan has also been suggested including “Death in the Truffle Wood.”

  2. And I am glad you have recommended Bruno, Chief of the Police, some time ago so I have it ready on my TBR (as I have still not bought that first Fred Vargas).

  3. Maxine I have not been very adventuruos with French books either. Have read Vargas and Benacquista and I have two Manotti in my TBR pile. Right now I’m reading Léo Malet’s 120, rue de la Gare (1943) which introduced the first French private eye, Nestor Nurma. Highly recommended, but not sure if it is currently available in English.

  4. Have you all read Simenon’s books? A friend of mine has read all of them in French, yet I haven’t read even one. Any comments about them?

  5. Thanks for the ideas, Jose Ignacio and Kathy. I did read the Maigrait books many years ago and remember enjoying them, but they are now a distant memory. I’ll look out Malet, also. Glad the pictures are finding approval, still!

  6. Pingback: Crime Fiction Alphabet: F is for France | Reactions to Reading

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