"Carousel" follows the pattern of Janes' other books featuring the partnership in occupied Paris of French police detective Louis St. Cyr and his Gestapo counterpart, Hermann Kohler. An unlikely buddy story, indeed.
A kinky murder drags the two cops into the murk of the wartime corruption and several other unsolved murders which may be related. A young woman is found raped and murdered in a hotel room she has rented under an assumed name, with several weird clues left behind. She's known to have been meeting an older man there. Family relationships going back decades are involved. As usual there are shadowy and sinister ties reaching to the top of the Nazi regime. At one point, Kohler and St. Cyr end up truffle-hunting in the countryside.
Janes' stylized writing creates the sense of fog surrounding Kohler and St. Cyr, but it also contributes to a certain amount of confusion. Their conversations with those who know something are often so elliptical as to leave the reader wondering what just actually transpired. Internal dialogue often emerges in fragmentary form without clear signals as to whom it belongs. It can be tough to follow, particularly as his plot is so complex. The web of German agencies competing to loot the city, with their personal and organizational rivalries, the shifting stew of French characters likewise at each other's throats, all make this book, like others in the series, dizzying to follow. The climactic scene, with most of the principals gathered in one place so that Everything Can Be Revealed, is a bit hokey that way.
Although his writing is heavy in atmosphere, I don't think Janes successfully evokes wartime Paris quite as well as another writer who strains at it less - Alan Furst. Several of his wartime espionage novels are located in Paris. Janes' books are weighed down by the murder mystery format, and by the somewhat overheated characterizations of St. Cyr and Kohler. He gives you as much wartime detail as Furst does, but somehow Furst's details seem both quirkier and more authentic. Janes tells us about ersatz coffee, and about women with drawn lines on their legs suggesting the seams of stockings that cannot be had amid the wartime scarcity, but somehow he never breaks through to the truly unique observations that would get the book fully into three dimensions. When St. Cyr notices a certain scent of perfume that seems to tie several characters together, I can't decide if this is a fine subtle touch or if Janes is playing the stereotypically-French card a little too strongly. I may be comparing apples and oranges here; this is a police-murder mystery, with its various conventions usually to be observed, while Furst's books are espionage but not really tied to the page-turning conventions of that or any other genre.
I don't want to bash "Carousel", though. For one thing, Janes does well developing the Kohler-St. Cyr relationship over the series. I've read three of the them, not in any chronological order, and this last one has me thinking I should start at the beginning and do them in order. In this particular one it's unclear why Kohler is so alienated from Nazidom in general, but rather than see this as a failing, it makes me want to read the other books to find out more.
Still, there are times in this book when I have no idea what just happened, why some conversation was important, who is talking or what is implied about the relationships of various characters to each other. In other words, I was sometimes lost, and had to just hang on and keep reading. At the end Janes brings it together - more or less. If you like the series, this is a respectable part of it.
Carousel (The St-Cyr and Kohler Mysteries) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 288 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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'[Janes] captures the seamy side of Paris, its ambience and its people, most trying to survive but some trying to get rich.' -- The Sunday Oklahoman. 'Keeps the suspense burning slowly but with mounting power -- their most successful outing yet.' -- Kirkus Reviews. 'The unorthodox detective partners in a haunting wartime series by J. Robert Janes make compassion their business. St-Cyr of the Surete Nationale and Hermann Kohler of the Gestapo work the mundane murder cases no one else wants to be bothered with. They cry for us all.' -- The New York Times Book Review. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
J. Robert Janes was born in Toronto and now lives in Ontario. A mining engineer and geologist by profession, Janes has also worked as a teacher and lecturer. Since becoming a full time writer in 1970, he has written over twenty books including novels for children and adults and a number of textbooks. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- File size : 1553 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 288 pages
- Publisher : mysteriouspress.com (1 June 2014)
- ASIN : B00KFDX14O
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: 460,974 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
3.8 out of 5
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Dizzying at timesReviewed in the United States on 21 May 2006
4 people found this helpful
Author deserves reprintingReviewed in the United States on 30 October 2016
Second in the series takes up where the first ended. Although there are some early references to the first volume, they are not important to the plot development in Carousel. Like it enough that I will buy the next volume.
One person found this helpful
Great story, tough readReviewed in the United States on 6 November 2012
The story lines are intricate, yet realistic. The characters are interesting and compelling. The writing style nearly ruins the whole experience. I almost wish the author had given his plot outline to someone with the ability to write clearly and logically.
One person found this helpful
wildwingReviewed in the United States on 10 September 2008
This book must of been writen by some one on acid because it is so bad.
One person found this helpful