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Saturday, 17 January 2015
‘Nazis in the Metro’by Didier Daeninckx
When the French writer André Sloga is attacked, Gabriel Lecouvreur, a freelance private eye, decides to take up the case, and soon discovers that Sloga’s new novel has made important enemies...
This stylishly-written novel features an entertainingly ruthless detective and a number of sharply-drawn minor characters: the tamed political journalist who ended up in the provinces, the skinhead Francis, and Gabriel’s hairdresser wife. The plot moves briskly, though the reader has to work at making connections. The French background was described well, moving from Paris to rural Vendée. For an English market, more footnotes were needed, as important information was given through allusions to writers like Rebatat, Drieu la Rochelle and Céline. The broad theme of an alliance between the national front and the intellectual left was topical in 1997, when the book was written – it would be interesting to know how relevant that still is in France. I haven’t read Daeninckx’s other novels, but I felt this one was disconnected plot-wise (we only met the perp and motive when Lecouvreur unveiled them), and the themes too big for so short a novel.
Quirky, stylish prose, fun characters, and very French. Daeninckx has also written Murders in Memoriam and A Very Profitable War, so if that sounds the kind of book you like, maybe you could begin with those.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor
Didier Daeninckx was born April 27, 1949. A French author and left-wing politician of Belgium descent, best known for his romans noirs.. He frequently uses fictional settings to transport social critique; his writings are characterized by a sobering social realism.
Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group. Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.