Death in Pont-Aven by Jean-Luc Bannalec – review

Death in Pont-AvenA review of just one of the glorious Eurocrime novels that are coming in now thanks to a special buy. We explored a huge range of crime fiction from right across Europe to do the buy. Do try some of these authors, they’re well worth a go.

We’ll do some more reviews but new this week is a novel by Jean-Luc Bannalec.

Probably you haven’t heard of him? He is in fact a German writer and publisher called Jorg Bong, and this is his first novel; Bannalec is in fact a small village quite near Pont-Aven. The novel was published in Germany to great acclaim in 2012, then came out in France and is now  available in English, thanks to translator Sorcha McDonagh.

Death in Pont-Aven

At the Central Hotel in Pont-Aven, Brittany, 91-year-old manager Pierre-Louis Pennec is found murdered. Police Commissaire George Dupin and his team take on the investigation and narrow the list of suspects down to five people, including a rising political star; a longtime friend of the victim; and a wealthy art historian. Further incidents – first a break-in, then another mysterious death – muddy the waters more. As Commissaire Dupin delves further and further into the lives of the victim and the suspects, he uncovers a web of secrecy and criminality that belies the village’s idyllic image

Dupin is a great detective creation. He is a little bit like Maigret, and as the novel begins he is having coffee in the Amiral Hotel, a real restaurant which featured in Simenon’s novel The Yellow Dog’.

Grumpy, not very communicative, and a great coffee drinker, he likes the ladies and it is hinted that he’s had a rather complicated love life and he may be about to embark on a relationship with the beautiful art historian, Marie Morgane Cassel. As a bonus there are some lovely descriptions of French towns and villages which add to the charm.