The Lying-Down Room (Commandant Serge Morel) by Anna Jaquiery

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The Lying-Down Room (Commandant Serge Morel) by Anna Jaquiery

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Buy The Lying-Down Room (Commandant Serge Morel) by Anna Jaquiery at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The first book in an interesting new crime series is a good read and promies well for he future. One to watch.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: April 2014
Publisher: Mantle
ISBN: 978-1447244417

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There is a reason why everyone who can leave Paris in August does so: it's swelteringly hot and deeply unpleasant. Commandant Serge Morel and his assistant, Lila Markov don't have the choice and to add to their problems they're short-staffed. The murder of the old woman seemed strange from the beginning: she was frail, inoffensive but she'd apparently been drowned and then laid out with care, garishly made up and adorned with a red wig. The bed sheet was tucked in tightly around her. Why would anyone want to murder her? And why was Fauré's Requiem playing whilst the murderer worked?

Morel has problems of his own. He has difficulty committing to a relationship - and his current involvement is strange to say the least - but he's not above stalking a woman he once loved. Closer to home - in fact at home, his father - once a real presence in his life - is beginning to succumb to senility. Morel's one real pleasure seems to be origami: it relieves the pressure. The only suspects which emerge in the murder of Isabelle Dufour are a middle-aged man and a mute teenage boy who have been delivering religious tracts in several of the city suburbs. The investigation will reach much further, though - into Soviet Russia and the cruelties of the orphanage system.

Almost against my better judgement (it's the stalking, you see...) I warmed to Serge Morel: he's a flawed character but then most of us are. He's doing his best to cope with a pressure job (including a media-loving and unsympathetic boss) and family difficulties. The pairing with Lila Markov is neat: she's strong and intelligent but vulnerable too and you suspect that she might actually be brighter than Morel. Both main characters and even some of the subsidiary ones leave you wondering what will happen to them next and The Lying-Down Room works well both as a good read in its own right and as a basis for an ongoing series.

The plot is more complex than at first seems likely and there's a wealth of background supporting it. Anna Jaquiery has worked as a journalist is several countries, including Russia and she has a flair for bringing a location to life in relatively few words. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If you'd like more Parisian crime then we can recommend the Franck Guerin series from David Barrie, starting with Wasp-Waisted.

Buy The Lying-Down Room (Commandant Serge Morel) by Anna Jaquiery at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Lying-Down Room (Commandant Serge Morel) by Anna Jaquiery at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Lying-Down Room (Commandant Serge Morel) by Anna Jaquiery at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Lying-Down Room (Commandant Serge Morel) by Anna Jaquiery at Amazon.com.

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