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Saturday 27 May 2017

‘The Awkward Squad’ by Sophie Henaff

Translated by Sam Gordon.
Published by Maclehose Press,
20 April 2017.
ISBN: 9780-85705-576-7

It is Paris and at the age of 37, suspended for firing “one bullet too many”, Commissaire Anne Capestan is brought back to be in charge of a new unit set up to solve cold cases. The trouble is it is made up of officers who are known to be troublemakers in one way or another.

On the first day although she is allotted forty officers only three turn up, although over the next few days a few more make appearances. The two main past crimes they look into are the murder of a sailor by the name of Yann Guenan in 1993, and the killing of an elderly lady, a Marie Sauzelle seven years ago.

Eva Rosiere officer and writer of a T.V. Serial, her dog, Pilou and Lebreton late of a Police Complaints Authority, head up the investigation into the sailor's death.  Capestan and Torrez, with a reputation of being a real 'Jonah' look into the murder of the 76-year-old lady.

When Rosiere and Lebreton visit the wife of the dead sailor, they learn he was once on a ferry that sank killing 53 people and he was trying to bring a case of neglect against the builder, could he be her husband's killer? She thinks so.

When Capestan goes to see senior officer Valincourt, who was in charge of Marie Sauzelle's murder case, he tips her off to go and see Marie's brother whom he calls a nasty piece of work.

As they all investigate and compare notes they spot something that have them speculating if there could be a connection between the two cases.  In spite of the fact that they all have dodgy reputations, they start to work together well as a team to solve both the cases. Then there is another murder.

An enjoyable book. Although it is a story of murders, it contains many amusing moments, particularly when the dog Pilou is involved. I found the detailed descriptions of the characters really brought them to life especially the alcoholic whose name is Merlot!

I hope this will be the beginning of a series about the Awkward Squad.

Recommended for those who enjoy a more 'light hearted' murder story!
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Sophie Hénaff is a journalist, author and former Lyonnaise bar owner. She began her journalism career as a critic at Lyon Poche, before moving to Paris to write for Cosmopolitan, where she established her own humorous column, "La Cosmolite". The Awkward Squad was first published as Poulets grillés in 2015, and is her first novel.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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