Summary and book reviews of Death in Brittany by Jean-Luc Bannalec

Death in Brittany

A Mystery

by Jean-Luc Bannalec

Death in Brittany by Jean-Luc Bannalec
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2015, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2016, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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Book Summary

Death in Brittany transports readers to the French coast where you can practically smell the sea air and taste the perfectly cooked steak frites in an expertly crafted, page-turning mystery.

Commissaire Georges Dupin, a Parisian-born caffeine junkie recently relocated from the glamour of Paris to the remote (if picturesque) Breton coast, is not happy when he is dragged from his morning croissant and coffee to the scene of a curious murder. The local village of Pont-Aven-a sleepy community by the sea where everyone knows one other and nothing much seems to happen-is in shock. The legendary ninety-one-year-old hotelier Pierre-Louis Pennec, owner of the Central Hotel, has been found dead.

A picture-perfect seaside village which played host to Gaugin in the 19th century, Pont-Aven is at the height of its tourist season and is immediately thrown into uproar. Dupin and his team identify five principal suspects, including a rising political star, a longtime friend of the victim, and a wealthy art historian. An obstinate detective whose unconventional methods include good food, good wine, and taking in plenty of sea air, Dupin finds his case further complicated when ongoing incidents compound the mystery. As Dupin delves further into the lives of the victim and the suspects, he uncovers a web of secrecy and silence that belies the village's quaint image.

A delectable read, Death in Brittany by Jean-Luc Bannalec transports readers to the French coast where you can practically smell the sea air and taste the perfectly cooked steak frites in an expertly crafted, page-turning mystery.

The First Day

The seventh of July was a magnificent summer's day, one of those majestic Atlantic days that always lifted Commissaire Dupin's spirits. There was blue everywhere. By Breton standards, the air was already very warm for so early in the morning but it was a perfectly clear day. There was a distinct sharpness to everything. Just last night it had looked like the end of the world was nigh; heavy, low-lying clouds, ominously black and monstrous, had raced across the sky as the rain came down in torrents of biblical proportions.

Concarneau – or the gorgeous 'Blue City' as it is called to this day because of the gleaming blue fishing nets that lined the waterfront in the last century – was glittering in the sun. Commissaire Georges Dupin was sitting in the Amiral, at the very end of the bar, the newspaper spread out in front him as usual. Above the beautiful old covered market building where you could buy fish fresh from the sea every day (whatever ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

There will be no summer vacation for me this year. But no matter, because I have enjoyed the next best thing: a tour of the romantic north of France, the province of Brittany, along the Atlantic shore. Well, the locale is romantic. The murder is not, nor is the detective tasked with solving the crime.   (Reviewed by Donna Chavez).

Full Review (687 words).

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Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Dupin's debut, published first in Germany and then in Britain, holds the promise of more pleasant puzzlers from the scenic north of France.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Bannelec excels at plotting and pacing, as well as vivid descriptions of the Finistère countryside. Readers will look forward to seeing more Dupin books from this talented author.

Booklist

Starred Review. The star of the mystery...is Brittany. Bannalec feeds the reader with intriguing bits of history (for example, Bretons are descended from the Celts, who fled Britain during the Anglo-Saxon invasions) and culture, along with bracing glimpses of centuries-old stone buildings, river banks, and the sea.

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Beyond the Book

Imitation: Flattery or Fraud?

The legitimacy of a painting that hangs in the hotel of the murder victim, Pierre-Louis Pennec, is at the heart of Jean Luc-Bannalec's Death in Brittany. Is it a forgery or is it an authentic Gauguin?

Jack LondonThere is popular story among writers about world-famous author Jack London (Call of the Wild, White Fang). Rumor has it that he taught himself to write by copying, word for word, day after day, the work of Rudyard Kipling. Reading was insufficient. Actually physically composing the sentences as Kipling had written them was the key to embedding skill. Kind of like creating muscle memory.

Likewise artists – painters, sculptors, etc. – throughout history have learned their craft by copying the works of the masters. It is ...

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