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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

‘Time Is A Killer’ by Michel Bussi


Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson,
5 April 2018.
ISBN: 978-147-460-668-4 (HB)

Set amid the vivid and beguiling scenery of Corsica, Clotilde, is spending a summer holiday here with her husband Franck and their fractious, adolescent daughter, Valentine. It’s 27 years since Clotilde, now a lawyer living in France, last set foot on her ancestral island. Then she was left orphaned when her parents and older brother were wiped out in a fatal car crash on a dangerous stretch of hill road.

During the last visit when she was fifteen, Clotilde had kept a diary that mysteriously went missing during the crash.  Now, as she re-unites with her paternal grandparents, members of an ancient wealthy and influential Corsican family that rule the roost, a bizarre, newly written letter arrives for her signed simply “P.”  Clotilde recognizes the handwriting as that of her stylish mother, Palma. But she’s dead, isn’t she?

The letter busts open the whole tragic incident and triggers a host of memories and uncomfortable questions.  The story weaves in and out between the ghosts of the past and the reality of the present, through bumpy, tangled relationships, family secrets and ruptured lives.   The author gradually but masterfully sets the stage for a multi-layered, tense, psychological noir thriller with intriguing, believable characters, sparkling dialogue and a satisfying twisty payoff at the end.  It’s a compelling, surprising read.

Last but not least, credit must also go to the translator, Shaun Whiteside, for a difficult job, well done, that preserves the integrity of the original French language.
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Reviewer: Serena Fairfax


Michel Bussi was born 29 April 1965 in Louviers France. He is a French writer of detective novels, and a political analyst and Professor of Geography at the University of Rouen, where he leads a Public Scientific and Technical Research Establishment. After the Crash was his first book to be published in the UK. Black Water Lilies was published in June 2016.



Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and practised in London for many years. She began writing by contributing feature articles to legal periodicals   then turned her hand to fiction. Having published nine novels all, bar one, hardwired with a romantic theme, she has also written short stories and accounts of her explorations off the beaten track that feature on her blog. A tenth, distinctly unromantic, novel is a work in progress. Thrillers, crime and mystery narratives, collecting old masks and singing are a few of her favourite things.

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