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Monday 9 November 2015

‘Dirty War’ by Dominique Sylvain

Translated from the French by Nick Caister
Published by MacLehose Press,
19 June 2015.
ISBN: 978-0-85705-216-2

A French lawyer has been found horribly murdered. He worked for a shadowy fixer named ‘Mister Africa’, a facilitator in the arms trade with links right up to cabinet level... and Mister Africa’s determined to stop the investigation, by any means.

This sequel to The Dark Angel brings retired police commissioner Lola Just back onto the warpath. The lawyer’s death mirrors that of her former assistant, Toussaint, whose death was never solved. Lola is a wonderful character: drinker, jigsaw-puzzler and grumpy old woman par excellence. Her sidekick, Ingrid Diesel, is an American masseuse with an interesting sideline (I won’t give details as it’s one of the surprises of The Dark Angel), and the wise-cracking dialogue between them is a delight. Their sleuthing is helped by Sigmund, a Dalmation on loan from a psychologist. The plot moves so fast it makes your head spin, and the final perp is a real surprise.  Sylvain’s descriptions of the many faces of Paris are particularly evocative... in short, I was really enjoying this book until the final pages, when Sylvain went for a fashionable cliff-hanger instead of a ‘proper’ ending.

If you fancy a cross between Chandler and Simenon, go for this one – I’d recommend starting with The Dark Angel, and you’ve been warned about the ending...
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Dominique Sylvain was born in 1957. Se worked as a journalist in Paris before relocating to Asia where she lived for spells in Japan and Singapore. She is the author of thirteen crime novels and now lives once more in Paris where she writes full-time.

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

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