cover image Monsieur Malaussene

Monsieur Malaussene

Daniel Pennac. Harvill Press, $22.95 (426pp) ISBN 978-1-84343-020-9

In Daniel Pennac's delightfully quirky Monsieur Malauss ne (translated from the French by Ian Monk), the final book in his Belleville quintet (The Scapegoat, etc.), his hapless hero, Benjamin Malauss ne, once again plays the fall guy. Charged with 21 murders, Ben must rely on his extended family and the colorful residents of Paris's largely Arab Belleville neighborhood to clear his name. Pennac effortlessly weaves the crime-solving in between vignettes of French cinema history, regional wines, religious art and other incidentals sure to tickle every Francophile's fancy.