My first taste of crime à la Appignanesi, and I have to say I liked it. Set in Québec, we follow the relationship between small town notaire Pierre Rousseau and film star and childhood friend Madeleine Blais – but only after an opening chapter where Pierre and Madeline’s English grandmother discover Madeline dead, apparently by her own hand hanging from the rafters in the family barn.
As the police investigate the death during the deep midwinter of a Canadian Christmas and New Year, suicide transforms into suspected murder and we see the good, the bad and the ugly sides of small, isolated communities which have strong beliefs – not just in their French Roman Catholic heritage but also in independence from Canada. In contrast, Pierre’s slow reveal of his relationship with the dead Madeline sees horizons widen, to Paris, Cannes and ultimately Hollywood.
Amazon.co.uk link: The Dead of Winter – Lisa Appignanesi