Sunday, November 09, 2014

Reading matters

Une Enquête Cannoise (Rossetti & MacLane, #2) (French Edition)Une Enquête Cannoise (Rossetti & MacLane, #2) by Jérôme Dumont
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My first session only took me 25% into the story... I guess reading French slows me down considerably. A second evening took me past the mid-point of the story with the mystery deepening in a most satisfactory manner. In my review of the first book in Dumant's series, 'Dangerous Games', I expressed my surprise at finding that the detailed insight into the mechanics of social gaming and cyber-security added to the entertainment. But I wonder if someone suggested that the author cease and desist in this respect in subsequent stories? Bits and bytes do not yet play any significant role in the Cannes enquiry.

Ah, Cannes! The Film Festival as setting is great fun and awakens many memories. I first attended the event in 1976 and thereafter for five years I made the annual pilgrimage from Paris to the Croisette. Most often I took the legendary overnight Train Bleu, although Dumont reminds me of how glorious it was to arrive at Nice Airport when the disembarkation was in the open air, on the apron in front of the terminal. In later years my Cannes visits were twice yearly (up to and including 2009 with latterly the rather longer journey from the United Arab Emirates) for the television programme markets in April and October. I can so easily picture Dine and Gabe in the bar of the Majestic!

I dare say I'll need just one more evening to finish the book. By now I have become inured to the horrible formatting of the Kindle edition, possibly in part due to the need of the software conversion to take into account French punctuation particularities. I found it especially hard to determine which passages were direct speech in the absence of conventional quotation marks. In my review of 'Dangerous Games' I expressed reservations about the English translation, possibly unfairly. The translator who will face the task of making the workings of the convoluted French judiciary system comprehensible for English-language readers faces a truly daunting task and can be forgiven in advance for the occasional stylistic lapse!

My final reading session left me with some regrets. The Cannes enquiry progressed to a credible dénouement with plenty of red-herrings presented to maintain the suspense. However I was saddened by the feeling that the writer had now settled for writing very conventional thrillers. Somehow ‘Dangerous Games’ had seemed to me to herald a fresh and unorthodox approach to storytelling. Much as I find Gabriel and Amandine delightful characters, I think I shall wait for their further adventures to appear in English translation before returning to this series.

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