Giverny. During the day, tourists flock to the former home of the famous artist Claude Monet and the gardens where he painted his Water Lilies. But when silence returns, there is a darker side to the peaceful French village.
This is the story of thirteen days that begin with one murder and end with another. Jérôme Morval, a man whose passion for art was matched only by his passion for women, has been found dead in the stream that runs through the gardens. In his pocket is a postcard of Monet’s Water Lilies with the words: Eleven years old. Happy Birthday.
Entangled in the mystery are three women: a young painting prodigy, the seductive village schoolteacher and an old widow who watches over the village from a mill by the stream. All three of them share a secret. But what do they know about the discovery of Jérôme Morval’s corpse? And what is the connection to the mysterious, rumoured painting of Black Water Lilies? Available from 30th June 2016
My Book Review
After The Crash was one of my favourite reads of 2015 but it turns out this was only the start.
After the crash was the Aperitif – Black Water Lilies the Banquet.
I opened this book a couple of days ago and was drawn between the pages almost against my will. I had things to do on Friday but obviously not – Michel Bussi had better ideas.
I’d read 10% and I was I enthralled. The words, lover-like drew me into their arms and captured me with their nouns, verbs and adjectives. I, probably prematurely tweeted about how he reminded me of Stieg Larsson – the audacity! I know how this Tweet was received. As a nurse I’ve had years of reading between the lines. I know when a person is in pain and my comment caused pain! But tenacity is my watchword and one click later I found this little gem of affirmation.
‘A novel so extraordinary that it reminded me of reading Steig Larsson for the very first time . . . Bussi breaks every rule in the book, but I doubt I’ll read a more brilliant crime novel this year (Sunday Times on AFTER THE CRASH).’
So enough of that and back to the book.
Three women – one young, one in her prime and finally the hag (Bussi’s words, not mine). A crime to be solved and two detectives to do it, all set in the beautiful Monet paradise of Norman French Giverny.
Laurenc Serenac, the senior detective – yum. Just imagine Morse but younger – no not that young! Z Cars is not what I meant. A golden haired hunk as opposed to Morse’s Silver Fox. His intelligence, his love of the arts – there, you have him captured within your minds eye. Now replace the Mark 11 Jaguar with a vintage Tiger Triumph motorbike and Voila! However his side kick, Sylvio Benavides is no pleasantly bumbling Sergeant Lewis. This is a youthful Dr Watson with a severe case of OCD, love of barbecues and an impossibly beautiful wife. Can these two French plods work out who killed Jérôme Morval or is there something darker going on?
Then there’s Neptune, the irascible Alsatian that seems to be everywhere and nowhere – is he he link in this Bussi’s masterpiece, or should we focus on the other characters presented?
And now I’ve finished the book do I still hold with my original view. Is Michel Bussi the next Stieg Larsson? Well of course he’s not but there are elements within his prose that do strike a cord all the same. Aficionados of Larsson will rightly hate it, but people like me who want a well written unusual read with an outstanding ending will love it. At a push I’d have to say it’s a cross between the writing of Larsson and Catriona Ward’s Rawblood, and then again it’s not – it’s just the perfect read – my perfect read.
Jenny OB (c)