The Readers’ Room

Antoine Laurain, trans. from the French by Gallic Books (Jane Aitken/Emily Boyce/Polly Mackintosh). Gallic, $15.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-910477-97-7
A profound love of books and authors underpins this sprightly mystery from Laurain (The President’s Hat). Violaine Lepage, the director of the manuscript readers’ room for a Parisian publisher, is certain that Sugar Flowers, a debut crime novel, will be a big seller, and so it proves when, a year later, the book is shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt. Then the problems start. First, the author, Camille Désencres, has only communicated with her publishers by email, and refuses to participate in person for interviews. Then Det. Insp. Sophie Tanche of the Rouen regional crime squad informs Violaine that a double murder described in the novel closely resembles an actual case. When a third man is found dead, the detective observes, “I don’t know how, but everything stems from one bizarre place: a thirty-square-meter room in which people are paid to read books that don’t yet exist... the readers’ room.” The tendency of characters to wax philosophical (“All books are works of black magic”) adds to the charm of this witty and perceptive novel. U.S. readers will want to see more of Laurain. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/29/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Open Ebook - 978-1-910477-98-4
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-1-910477-96-0
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