Friday, May 1, 2015

A Quirky Detective, Gauguin, and Murder

Although Pont-Aven is not his territory, Georges Dupin is assigned a brutal murder case because the Commissaire for that area is on holiday. Dupin isn't enthusiastic about the case. A famous hotelier has been murdered in the bar of his hotel. There are few clues, but the pressure is high to find the murderer, particularly since it's almost tourist season in Pont-Aven

Pont-Aven is a delightful small town in Brittany that was once home to a famous artist's colony who premier member was Gauguin. The area is beautifully described. It makes you want to visit. The history of the art colony is another plus. I enjoyed learning the history of this group.

Dupin is a somewhat grumpy character. He dislikes authority, likes to work alone, and is sometimes difficult for the inspectors who work with him to keep up with. He loves long walks, coffee, and cafes.
He works very hours, forgets to eat, and is often hungry. However, when he does eat the food is lovingly described.

The other inspectors are good foils for Dupin. Le Ber, who works most closely with him, has learned to do what Dupin wants and not ask too many questions. Labat is much more formal and finds it harder to deal with Dupin's quirks.

For me, the delight of this mystery was driven by the descriptions of Brittany and the history of the artist's colony. The murder itself is not hard to figure out because there aren't many suspects, but the motive is much more interesting. If you enjoy a mystery in an exotic setting, you'll enjoy this one.

I reviewed this book for Amazon Vine.