Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Under the Channel - Gilles Pétel

Under the Channel
Gilles Pétel; Emily Boyce (translator) and Jane Aitken (translator)
Gallic, Mar 17 2015, $15.95
ISBN 9781908313669

While Great Britain struggles with the impact of the financial crisis, Scottish estate agent John Burny decides to escape by train to Paris for an upper class getaway weekend vacation though he feels the strain of the failing economy.  He struggles to make it to the last train of the night on time and becomes further frustrated when inside the Chunnel his train breaks down for ten minutes before continuing on to the French station.  All the passengers disembark except John; someone on-board murdered him.

French Police lieutenant Roland Desfeuillères leads the investigation into who garroted the visitor.  Getting nowhere and seizing an opportunity to escape his personal life tsuris temporarily, Desfeuillères heads to London to learn more about the victim.  Checking in with his British counterparts, Desfeuillères is taken back by their irrelevant attitude, but remains motivated to find who had the motive and opportunity to kill John Burny. 

This is a captivating French police procedural as the protagonist walks several kilometers in a dead man’s shoes, but learns as much about whom he is as he does the late Burny.  Filled with dark satirical humor, fans of offbeat crime investigations will want to join Desfeuillères’ tour of London.

Harriet Klausner

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