Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Bookish Thoughts: Death in Brittany by Jean-Luc Bannalec

The seventh of July was a magnificent summer's day, one of those majestic Atlantic days that always lifted Commissaire's Dupin's spirits. ~ Opening of Death In Brittany


Death in Brittany by Jean-Luc Bannalec 
Minotaur Books, 2015 (1st published in 2012) 
Crime Fiction; 320 pgs

This is the first book in a crime fiction series featuring Commissaire Dupin. The series was originally written in German. This is very much a traditional police procedural with the focus on the plot and crime. Commissaire Dupin is good at his job, but not always easy to work with. He tends to keep all his cards close to his vest, not even letting his investigative team know what he's thinking. He is not a fan of politicians and they clearly are not fond of him. 

When an elderly hotel owner is brutally murdered in his own hotel, Commissaire Georges Dupin is tasked with solving the crime. Could it have been the victim's own family, an employee at the hotel, the wealthy art historian, or the victim's best friend? Everyone seems to be hiding something, Dupin is sure. The investigation heats up when a window is broken at the crime scene--vandalism or a break-in? And then another body is found. The Commissaire has his work cut out for him, unraveling the threads that will lead him to the killer and the reason behind the murder. With the summer tourist season just about to begin, even the politicians are looking for quick answers. Dupin will have to come up with the answers fast.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the idyllic setting. The author has a way with putting the reader right into the small community on the coast of France he writes about. It sounds like somewhere I would not mind visiting. I got a good sense of how tight the community was, everyone knowing everyone's business, and of the history and culture of the area. 

Commissaire Dupin is an interesting character, stereotypical in some ways, but I especially loved the little details the author added to make him his own person. He loves coffee (what a relief he isn't a drunk!) and food. I do wish he had been more forthcoming with his investigative team. I can appreciate someone preferring to work alone (I tend to be like that too), but it could have put him in a dangerous spot, not to mention left his team in a bind if something had happened to him. I am overthinking it though. Ultimately, I really did like Dupin and his quirks. I often was glad to wander off with him, lost in thought, to look out over the water and put the details of the mystery together. There were several hints of an interesting backstory that I would love to see explored further. 

As this is a first book in a series, I can only hope that future books will more fully flesh out some of the minor but significant characters, particularly those on Dupin's investigative team. My only real complaint about the novel was that they were not more developed, particularly Le Ber and Labat and even Nolwenn.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Death in Brittany. If you enjoy reading about France and enjoy a plot-driven police procedural, you should definitely give this book a try.


Source: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

© 2015, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for your lovely review, Wendy! This sounds like something I'll enjoy and that cover looks great too!

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    1. Melody - I hope you like it if you get to read it, Melody. I hope to read more in this series.

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  2. I don't think I've read a mystery set in France, but that seems to be a very ideal setting for mysteries (for me). I will have to look this one up. It does bother me about the mini characters not being that well fleshed out - a problem I see in some genre fiction, but the rest of it sounds interesting.

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    1. Athira - I am hoping the author explores the regular minor characters more in later books.

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  3. For some reason I'm surprised a book written in German would be set in France and I really shouldn't be. I've always wanted to go to Brittany so I'd read this one for the setting alone.

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    1. Kathy - It struck me as interesting too at first. I would love to visit Brittany. It sounds beautiful.

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  4. Nice! I've been curious about this one, I think I'll have to read it soon.

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    1. Becky - I hope you like it if you do read it! I loved the setting especially.

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  5. I read this one earlier this year and enjoyed it a lot too. Like you, I really appreciate a detective who isn't a drunk and all bitter! I never got much a feel for the other characters as he really took over all the action but I do think this is a good start to a new series!

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    1. Iliana - Commissaire Dupin was a nice change of pace. :-) I am glad you enjoyed this one too! I'm looking forward to reading more in the series.

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  6. I'm interested in this one, especially the setting! It is always nice to see if an author can develop the characters and relationships after setting the scene, so to speak, in the first novel.

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    1. Jenclair - I am hoping the author will spend more time on the regular minor characters in feature book. This was definitely a good introduction to Dupin himself.

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  7. That's a nice cover and the story sounds good, I like small town settings. Hopefully the characters will be better fleshed out in the next installments.

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    1. Naida - I like small town settings too, especially when set in countries other than my own. I hope the characters are better fleshed out in future books in the series too. This was a promising start.

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  8. This definitely sounds like a book I would enjoy. The setting and the mystery both sound interesting. That's too bad that the characters are on the flat side but it does seem to be pretty common in this genre. I'll definitely have to look for this one!

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    1. Katherine - Yes, I found both interesting. I hope you enjoy this one if you try it. I'm curious to read the next book.

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  9. I think I'll tuck this away in my "someday" list, as I really should start reading some mysteries by authors who aren't British, Canadian, or American! It sounds interesting and I think I would enjoy the setting, though the flat characters might annoy me a little.

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    1. Lark - I should read more outside of those three nationalities too. I definitely like the setting and wouldn't mind visiting there again.

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