cover image The Honest Folk of Guadeloupe

The Honest Folk of Guadeloupe

Timothy Williams. Soho Crime, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-61695-385-0

At the start of Williams’s absorbing second Anne Marie Laveaud mystery set in Guadeloupe, in the French West Indies (after 2013’s Another Sun), the investigating judge looks into the alleged suicide of environmentalist Rodolphe Dugain. Anne Marie’s persistence makes some powerful people uneasy. When a French nurse is found murdered on a beach, Anne Marie is diverted to help solve the case before European tourists panic and cancel vacations crucial to the local economy. Anne Marie’s clerk/factotum, Alphonse Trousseau, provides quirky commentary laden with insights about the legacies of colonialism, such as nuanced racism, official corruption, and troubled interactions between men and women. She herself is a less sympathetic character, often exhausted and bewildered by the demands of her job and single motherhood. Short chapters and a sometimes elliptical style make the narrative disjointed in places, but armchair travelers who enjoy mysteries with a strong sense of place should welcome this foray into the French Caribbean. Agent: Massimiliano Zantedeschi, Trentin e Zantedeschi Literary Agency (Italy). (Jan.)