Wasp-Waisted by David Barrie
|Wasp-Waisted by David Barrie|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A tightly plotted police procedural which makes good use of its Parisian setting and great cast of characters. A real page-turner. Definitely recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: June 2009|
|Publisher: John Law Media|
|External links: Author's website|
Franck Guerin used to be one of the elite, dealing with national security, but after an incident in Corsica which left him badly wounded he's been moved into criminal investigations. His first case proves to be something of a problem when a young model is found dead in a luxury hotel in Paris. Worryingly, a stunning photograph of the body is delivered to Exposé, a big-circulation scandal sheet, before the body is discovered and it can only have been taken by the murderer. Despite the provenance of the picture it's difficult not to be in awe of the skill and artistry which produced it. All Guerin has to go on is the very expensive underwear which the body is wearing – or you might almost say modelling.
Oh, I did enjoy this book. After the initial few pages which are over-heavy in setting the Parisian scene the pace never lets up as Guerin works his way through the world of ultra-chic lingerie in all its many forms. I did wonder if this was going to be the excuse for sexual indulgence but Barrie understands the subtle differences between the erotic and the pornographic and never oversteps the mark. You'll learn a lot about lingerie (definitely not underwear) and the women whose passion it is to own a du Bellay, particularly after some of the most beautiful women are found dead in the firm's products.
And what of the title – Wasp-Waisted? Well that's the name of a very up-market and select publication – definitely not a magazine – featuring erotic colour photographs of women in upmarket lingerie. It's not about the bodies, or the lingerie, beautiful as they are, but about the image, the beauty of the picture. It's for the collector.
I liked Guerin too. He's a policeman but he doesn't have any problem relating to his superior, isn't a womaniser and if there's a drink problem it's down to his consumption of coffee. He's not long over injury and extensive surgery but he's still determined to track down the murderer even when bodies seem to be piling up (or should that be reclining gracefully?) all over Paris. Every character comes off the page well – even the bit players – and I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen next.
The plot is well constructed with clues neatly scattered and unusually for this type of book it will bear rereading just for the pleasure of seeing how it was done. I did work out the identity of the murderer about fifty pages before the end of the book, but unusually for me this wasn't a disappointment as there's a real pleasure in reading the book – it's not just the answer to a puzzle.
I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy to the Bookbag. We hope that we'll be seeing more of Franck Guerin and particularly of David Barrie.
Wasp-Waisted by David Barrie is in the Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2009.
David Barrie was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Wasp-Waisted by David Barrie at Amazon.com.
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