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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • Highly recommended

    I look forward to reading other books in this series as I really liked this one and found the grumpy and quirky Inspector Pel quite amusing. It's an entertaining and engrossing read, full of humour and with a well developed cast of characters. The mystery is solid and kept me guessing. A good read, highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.

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  • Pel is an interesting detective. But no Maigret.

    A book and an author that makes so many reference in his first novel about Maigret is going to be finally judged by that standard and come up short. Chief Inspector Pel is no Maigret and Mark Hebden is no Georges Simenon. Apples and Pears. Hopefully, as the series progresses this preoccupation will fade and more focus can be brought to his own creation. Pel is observant and methodical; slow to form opinions and quick to delegate. His junior detectives are interesting and enough has been revealed to indicate these books will appeal to followers of police procedurals. The plot is clever and well balanced with the reader being able to assemble the clues and become involved in the crime drama / murder mystery. Unfortunately, my review loses another star due to the treatment of women in the book and the view of the male protagonists towards the female characters. There seems to be a sexual context to most encounters and some repressed sexual tension. To the point where you wonder if the author himself had a low opinion of women bordering on misogamy. I love that these are books written in a less contemporary time, this first one originally published in 1979. It is good to have another detective series based in France and Burgundy is an interesting location. Pel is an interesting detective. A bachelor, struggling with a dominating housekeeper. A borderline hypochondriac who beats himself up when he smiles or drinks too much alcohol. Sufficient to want to spend time in his company providing we loose Maigret as a benchmark and more seriously write less openly about women as sex objects.

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  • Humorous mystery set in France

    This first Inspector Pel mystery was originally published in 1979 and has now been republished by Farrago, an imprint of Duckworth Books, UK, who gave me the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy through NetGalley. Once again, I thank Farrago for introducing me to some great detective fiction of the past. In this intriguing police procedural set in France, Inspector Pel is called in to investigate the bludgeoning death of a woman in her country home. There are a slew of possibilities for 'whodunit' but the most obvious suspects seem to all have alibis. Step by step, Inspector Pel and Sergeant Darcy dig through the lies and secrets to get to the truth. This crew of police investigators are interesting characters and their interactions are often quite humorous. This is a fun, quick read. Having been written forty years ago, the reader may notice some gender stereotyping and misogyny that wouldn't be accepted today but, taken for what it is and the time in which the story is set, this doesn't detract much from the total enjoyment of the mystery.

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  • Great read

    A really well written mystery, packed with real like people and intelligent police. I found it very entertaining and very much a book I wanted to keep reading. i will certainly read more of this series and from this author.

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  • Great French mystery

    A thoroughly enjoyable French mystery about the murder of a beautiful woman who is not extremely faithful and also not the most loving mother which of course leaves Inspector Pel with quite a few suspects. Inspector Pel is a chain smoking detective who is not the best loved superior in the French police; however, he is blessed with his sergeant Darcy who is a very positive individual always looking for the best in people especially women. The story is very well told and it’s nice for a change to read about countries other than the US and UK. I will definitely recommend this book and read more from this author. Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

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