Death on the Rive Nord: An Inspector Lucas Rocco Mystery by Adrian Magson
|Death on the Rive Nord: An Inspector Lucas Rocco Mystery by Adrian Magson|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Part police procedural and part thriller set in northern France in the sixties - it's a page-turning story.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: August 2011|
|Publisher: Allison and Busby|
|External links: Author's website|
Illegal immigrants are not a recent phenomenon. Back in 1963, in Picardy, a truck dropped a group of illegal workers close to a deserted stretch of canal, at the dead of night. Seven people left the truck, and it was only when the driver investigated that he found an eighth inside the truck, stabbed to death. It was a few days before the body surfaced in the canal and Inspector Lucas Rocco was given the job of investigating the death. The problems in Algeria were in the past but not forgotten and Rocco would find himself involved with notorious gang leaders from the former colony – and occasionally wondering if he has bitten off more than he can chew.
There's a noir edge to this series which it's difficult to classify as either crime or thriller. For me there was probably just a bit too much blood around, but I accept that's a matter of personal taste. There's an excellent mystery in there – and I really did have someone else pencilled in as the killer - and there are some neat twists along the way. The thriller element is probably stronger with Rocco – the city cop transferred to the countryside – and an undercover cop keeping the pages turning very quickly. It's perhaps not a top-rank thriller or whodunit but the combination still makes for a very readable book.
I was most taken by the unmistakable atmosphere of this part of north-east France – not that far from Paris as the crow flies but a world away in terms of attitudes. You can just about reach out and touch the mists and the chill will work its way into your bones. I'm not entirely convinced by Rocco as the city cop come to the countryside as he seems to be at home in Poissons. That's a minor quibble, particularly when set against the depiction of the Algerian gang culture and the problems which this can create in local communities with the influx of criminals from abroad and the burden which falls on the police. The utter disregard for human life exhibited by a couple of the Algerian gangsters was completely chilling.
I enjoyed the book, which worked well as a standalone for someone who hadn't read the first in the series and I'll be more than happy to look out for more from Lucas Rocco. I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For more crime from France, we can recommend the work of David Barrie whose police procedurals are set in a more modern Paris. You might also like to take a look at Black Diamond: A Bruno Courreges Investigation by Martin Walker. From the same period, we can recommend Achaladair: There Is More Than Gold, in Them Thar Hills by William S Young.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Death on the Rive Nord: An Inspector Lucas Rocco Mystery by Adrian Magson at Amazon.com.
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