Where did the last 2 weeks disappear? I’ve hardly been online, but whenever I snatched some 5 free minutes I spent them reading your blogs, guys, and was not in the mood to write here about some books. I’m not yet in maternity leave, but oh my word, I am SO looking forward to it. I have great plans for the few weeks before Baby #2, and that definitely involves some catching up on book posts (and on about everything else in my life… no, I’m not overly ambitious. At that stage it’s called pure delusion).
So you see, in the meantime I don’t particularly feel inspired to write about Madame Edouard, a little murder mystery that was entertaining enough for the few hours I spent with it, but wasn’t really thrilling or memorable.
In fact, I’m getting a little bit tired of quirky Paris-based funny thrillers that look toward Fred Vargas’ but aren’t quite the real deal. Ok, I’m being mean here and I don’t even mean it. Madame Edouard is fun: not laugh-out-loud, ah-ah fun, but honest entertainment. The recipe is to put a picturesque, charming setting: in this case, Montmartre (but strangely empty of tourists, so how realist is that?), to populate it with charming oddballs, with kitschy details (a male policeman who loves to knit, a retired transvestite who never leaves her (his?) Charentaise slippers because they are just too comfortable), add a grizzly murder with some gory details (serial murder whose victims are buried close to famous painters’ tombs), shake and serve with some gusto.
There’s a lot of dark humor and even some off-color jokes (that sound rather Belgian to me – Nadine Monfils being Belgian and a long-term French resident) that rather go well with the setting, but the balance between the crime plot and the rest of the book didn’t feel quite right. And I couldn’t really believe in all those characters.
This pregnancy didn’t stop me from getting interested in good murder mysteries (I keep away from child murders though), so I’m all about hearing good references. In the meantime, I’ve snatched a Tana French mystery, Faithful Place, from my neighborhood library. I’ve never read her before, but I have heard lots of good things about her, so I hope to overcome my disappointment with some Dublin fog. If that doesn’t help, I’m sure there will always be a nice little Fred Vargas’ out there to comfort me.