Last night the virtual crime book club discussed The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey as part of Classics month. Published in 1948, the group found many parallels with our current society. The overall opinion was The Franchise Affair was an enjoyable read and members would go on to read further Josephine Tey books.
To hear members’ thoughts on the book, watch the meeting below. Be aware it does contain full spoilers.
February’s theme is French crime – translated or set in France. Below are the books up for the vote. Please read the blurbs and leave your vote in the comments. The next meeting is Monday 6th February at 8 pm. GMT. If you want to join the book club you can sign up HERE.
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.
The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.
The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge
Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.
Little Rebel by Jerome Leroy (novella)
Divided along so many social fault lines, a city in the west of France is a tinderbox of anger and passion. As the tension grows, things go badly wrong as a cop is killed and a terror cell is scattered across the city. A school on the deprived side of the city is caught up in turmoil as students, their teacher and a visiting children’s author are locked down.
The Frozen Dead by Bernard Minier
The first victim is a horse: its headless body hangs suspended from the edge of a frozen cliff.
On the same day as the gruesome discovery, a young psychiatrist starts her first job at a secure asylum for the criminally insane, just a few miles away.
Commandant Servaz, a Toulouse city cop, can’t believe he has been called out over the death of an animal. But there is something disturbing about this crime that he cannot ignore.
Then DNA from one of the most notorious inmates of the asylum is found on the corpse… and a few days later the first murder takes place.
In this snowbound valley, deep in the Pyrenees, a dark story of madness and revenge is unfolding. It will take all of Servaz’s skill to solve it.
The Accordionist by Fred Vargas
When two Parisian women are shockingly murdered in their homes, the police suspect young accordionist Clément Vauquer, who was seen outside both of the apartments in question. It seems on the surface like an open-and-shut case.
But now Clément has disappeared from public view. His likeness has appeared in the papers and detectives from Paris to Nevers are on his tail. To have a chance of proving his innocence, he seeks refuge with old Marthe, a former prostitute and the only mother figure he has known.
Marthe calls ex-special investigator Louis Kehlweiler to help Clément. But what Louis uncovers is anything but straightforward, and he must call on some unconventional friends to help him solve his most complex case yet. Not only must Louis try to prove Clément’s innocence, he must solve a fiendish riddle to lead him to the killer…
The Lost and the Damned by Olivier Norek
A suspenseful new police procedural from a former French police officer and one of the original writers on the hit series Spiral
A corpse that wakes up on the mortuary slab.
A case of spontaneous human combustion.
There is little by the way of violent crime and petty theft that Capitaine Victor Coste has not encountered in his fifteen years on the St Denis patch – but nothing like this.
Though each crime has a logical explanation, something unusual is afoot all the same, and Coste is about to be dragged out of his comfort zone. Anonymous letters addressed to him personally have begun to arrive, highlighting the fates of two women, invisible victims whose deaths were never explained. Just two more blurred faces among the ranks of the lost and the damned.
Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson
Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina.
Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s.
Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again.
Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?
Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.