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Death in Pont-aven Paperback – 25 April 2014
- Publisher : Hesperus Press Ltd (25 April 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1843914980
- ISBN-13 : 978-1843914983
- Dimensions : 12.5 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 258,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Death in Pont-Aven is a leisurely stroll through South Brittany with a little crime thrown in for good measure. Very much in the style of Martin Walker's Bruno the location and the food have starring roles. Rarely have I read such good descriptions of the location and I felt that I could picture it all from the changeable weather to the winding roads and hoards of tourists. I also liked the snippets of history and culture given to Dupin, which as an incomer, the natives do not expect him to know. It all makes for an evocative, atmospheric read.
Dupin is an interesting character. Transferred or could it be banished to Finisterre (from the latin finis terra meaning end of the world, a nice conceit) for one too many insults to his superiors in Paris he has come to love Concarneau but is well aware that he will always be "new". He has learned to curb his tongue but not his dislike of the politics of the job or the politicians involved so there are some amusing exchanges between him and various functionaries. He is not much more forthcoming with Labat and Le Ber whom he expects to follow his instructions blindly with no understanding of why. He is a lone wolf working in a team.
The plot is the fairly straightforward hunt for a killer, hampered by the secrets kept by Pennec's friends and family. It is linear with no hints about the killer until the end. I didn't guess who it was but I'm not sure anyone could as much of the motive does not appear until the second half of the novel. Having said this I think the plot is the weakest part of the novel.
I really enjoyed Death in Pont-Aven, more for the atmosphere and characterisation than the crime aspect, so I have no hesitation in recommending as a good read.
Commissioner Dupin is an attractive character, with a supportive team. There are a limited number of suspects. The plot is straightforward with Bannalec leading readers carefully through his hero's thought processes to make sure they do not miss any clues. This is a lightweight read rather than a heart-stopping complex thriller but the book is consistently entertaining. I understand it is the first of a series and I will certainly read the next episode.