by Raymond Radiguet translated by Christopher Moncrieff
Although the 1930’s mini challenge has come to an end, when I spotted this book at work I thought it might fit, and wanted to read more books of that time. Of course then I read the details and discovered that it was actually written earlier than that… Oh well :)
The devil in the flesh created quite a bit of a scandal when it was published, semi-autobiographical, the author wrote it from the age of sixteen to eighteen, after his own affair with a married woman. And that, my dears, is the central theme to this book. In fact, it is the end all and the be all of everything in this book. Our 15/16 year old narrator’s affair with a married woman. And I found that incredibly off-putting.
From Paris with love dir. by Pierre Morel
James Reece is trying hard to become a secret agent while working at the American Embassy in Paris. He is smart, and plays chess. And he is in love with a beautiful French woman, who has just asked him to marry her, and now his dream is coming true, he is taking action in the fight against drugs and terrorism, because he has been assigned to Charlie Wax, an “unorthodox” agent who may not play by the rules but gets things done.
Before I go any further I will say one thing: Do NOT watch this film.
Author: Fred Vargas ; trans from the french by Sian Reynolds
An Adamsberg novel
Chief Inspector Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg has recently been transferred to Paris. His police methods aren’t exactly standard procedure and his inspectors have a lot to get used to. But they can have no doubt that he is a born policeman, and while even he is unable to explain how he arrives at his conclusions he is usually correct. In this case he thinks that there is something strange about the blue chalk circles that have been appearing in the Parisian streets. He is convinced that there is something sinister about them.
Author: Fred Vargas
Trans: Sian Reynolds
As you may already know I’m a big fan of Fred Vargas’ work and while this one is a library copy I’ll be buying this when it comes out in the proper size. I can’t stand these trade publications versions. They make no sense to me. All the negatives of a hardback with none of the positives. But enough about that; on to the plot.
The most straight-forward way of describing this book is to say that it is a murder-mystery. But with characters like Adamsberg there is no such thing as a straight-forward case. So when he spots something a little “off” about the two bodies that have shown up he decides that this case his rather than giving them over to the Drugs Squad.
trans. Sian Reynolds
I’m a huge fan of Fred Vargas’ work. And this book is no exception. The star, once more, is Commissaire Adamsberg. The plot revolves around a series of murders, the first in 1943, the latest takes place in the present of the book. Adamsberg has a special interest in this case, and the judge he believes to have committed these crimes. In each case the murder victim is killed by three stab wounds. And in each case an assailant has been found, always suffering from amnesia but also having a murder weapon in his possession. In each case the police decide that this individual is responsible and, there you go, case closed. Adamsberg is not so sure.
Author: Irene Nireovsky
Two novellas and some appendices make up this book. The two fiction pieces were intended to be part of a series of books about France during World War II, but the author, Irene Nemirovsky died in a concentration camp in August 1942, and that is what makes up the non-fiction element of this book. Of course the real like story of Nemirovsky, and how this book came to be published makes up a large element of the media coverage surrounding the novel, but the fiction element alone deserves attention. The background, and fact that it was written as these events were taking place, adds to the work as a whole.