cover image Murder in Memoriam

Murder in Memoriam

Didier Daeninckx. Serpent's Tail, $13.95 (176pp) ISBN 978-1-85242-206-6

Bernard Thiraud has been murdered in Toulouse, France. Glib Inspector Cadin senses a connection between Bernard's death and that of his father, Roger Thiraud, two decades earlier. Though killed during a police riot, the elder Thiraud, a history teacher, seems to have been murdered to stop his research into a matter regarding Vichy France. Cadin's investigation is hindered by 20 years of history and a French bureaucracy that would rather forget that embarrassing period of collaboration with the Germans. While Daeninckx offers a masterful weave of political history in this debut novel, he is so intent on unfolding this elaborate tapestry that he neglects to develop characters. Dialogue falls flat without tags to identify what characters are doing or thinking as they speak, and the romantic interest appears to be an afterthought: Cadin makes a clumsy, ill-timed move on the victim's girlfriend, and she then drops almost completely out of the picture until she falls for the inspector at the end. Similarly, other peripheral characters appear once and are never heard from again. (July)