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Dark Summer in Bordeaux

Dark Summer in Bordeaux [Kindle Edition]

Allan Massie
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'I think Death in Bordeaux is both a thriller and a "literary" novel: a difficult trick, but in my book the greatest to bring off. I look forward eagerly to volume two' --Robert Harris

'Massie's evocation of France on the brink of the invasion is vivid and convincing, and this fine novel, set in a period of moral turmoil, introduces a humane and memorable detective' --Joan Smith, Sunday Times

Product Description

With his son's safe return, Superintendent Lannes and his wife can, at last, have some joy amid the grim reality of Vichy France. Not that the unexplained murders seem to have stopped. Allan Massie's second volume in his trilogy continues the story of dogged detection in a world seemingly gone mad. His first volume, Death in Bordeaux, was reprinted three times and garlanded with praise by reviewers.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 457 KB
  • Print Length: 280 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Quartet Books (16 Sep 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,987 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A choice of betrayals - Occupied France 1941 27 Aug 2012
By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWER TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I really liked how this crime novel morphs into very good historical fiction. Beyond that, author Allan Massie has created some terrific characters in this well written story, including protagonist Jean Lannes, Superintendent of the Police Judiciare of Bordeaux. The action swims in the political crosscurrents of the moment as the Germans occupy half of the country (including Bordeaux); the collaborationist Vichy Government administers the Central and Eastern interior of France; and the European sector of WWII is just beginning to heat up as the British recover from an early mauling and the Nazis turn on their erstwhile allies, the USSR. Loyalties are unstable and unpredictable and betrayals are common and often brutal.

Superintendent Lannes is trying to do his job as a senior cop while balancing family crises and competing political elements, including British and Free French who want his cooperation for a number of competing projects. Amidst this unwanted swirl of complications comes a murder case that seems to be of interest to all players--some who want a solution to the crime, but most who don't.

Author Massie deftly juggles a very large cast of characters that pulls the reader in from the first page. There's almost the pleasure of a soap opera in all of this, but the overlay of the war and the helplessness of people living under occupation or social restraint is clear and keeps it all on a serious plane. That doesn't lessen the enjoyment of the story by a whit. This is a fine, enthralling tale from a very good writer. The conclusion suggests that there will be a sequel. And it might be useful to note as well that there is a first episode to this story in "A Death in Bordeaux." On reflection, I wish that I had read the first installment before picking up "A Dark Summer...", but overall, the latter stands alone very well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first two books of this trilogy (this is the second) feature a magnificent recreation of what life must have been like in Bordeaux in the early days of the German occupation. In creating this portrait of crushed life in this troubled time, the author has set himself a hard task and succeeded well - informing the reader about all the conflicting strands of the largely defeatist French reaction to their defeat. The sense of place and period are on a par with Simenon's Maigret.

The protagonist is a senior policeman caught in conflicting loyalties and responsibilities trying to hang on to shreds of his integrity as he attempts to find resolution to a series of crimes whilst doing his best to protect those that elements in new regime seeks to destroy. The story only works if you have read the previous book, there is a large cast of characters who drift in and out of the narrative. The author keeps you turning the pages but the story itself is really an interlude setting up what will be the climax in the final (as yet unpublished) book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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I have read this book twice, in order to get a better understanding of some of the more complex characters, and the re-reading was rewarding. Indeed, when one reads this novel - even for the first time - one gets a very good insight into life in an occupied French city during the Second World War, and how the various personalities adjusted to changing circumstances. A really good read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sympathetic treatment of insoluble dilemma 22 Feb 2013
Having met people who lived through the Occupation, one is aware of the uncertainties they experienced. None of those I have met, however, had a job as impossible as the police and judiciary. The conflicts between Commissaire Lannes' duty to France and that to the State, as well as his difficulties in protecting his family and friends, are very well brought out.

Massie's characters - quite a small cast compared with the tout-Paris Balzac builds in the Comédie Humaine - manage to create a credible city of Bordeaux: provincial, often stuck-up, sometimes brave and sometimes not so brave. And the credibility of these characters lends an air of authenticity to Lannes' self-examination.

One or two reviewers have complained that the pace is too slow; I disagree, in fact I rather wish Massie had decided to write a tetralogy - having dealt with the fall of France in the first volume, and got up to the invasion of Russia here, he could presumably have wrapped another two cases around the occupation of the Zone Libre and the Liberation.

I look forward, in any case, to the third volume.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By BeeCee
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Unputdownable - if you love history and intrigue this is for you - the second in Massie's Bordeaux Vichy era sleuth novels. If you haven't read any Massie my tip would be to start with 'A Question of Loyalties' for a truly fantastic read to get you into the subject matter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The political decay internally and externally (Nazi invasion) painted brilliantly in the lives of a cross-section of those involved. A proud, even sometimes, haughty, people, too susceptible to political extremes of left and right without a decisive blow from any of them - they angrily wear each other down to their meanest cores.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful series by a gifted writer 6 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is so good to read a series of novels set around Bordeaux and Vichy France. I knew so little about this era. To have it elucidated by a writer with the literary skills of Allan Massie is a joy. It is also completely absorbing and hugely exciting. Highly highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars part one of trilogy or more
I read the three related Bordeax novels by Massie and felt that t I was reading the same story over and over without resolution. Read more
Published 23 days ago by ChrisG
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
The story continues in this second book in the trilogy, would be helpful if the first book had been read but not essential as things are explained as to what has happened. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Peta Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Bordeaux
I know Bordeaux a little. I had read Alan Massie before, but had no idea he had written these detective stories. Read more
Published 1 month ago by C. J. Driver
5.0 out of 5 stars another great read
I got all 3 of the Bordeaux books but I got them in the wrong sequence - didn't really matter.
For me, these are a great read - policing & killings yet free of that current... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Poadster
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
A very enjoyable read and informative about the France of WWII and the existential angst that prevailed, the nepotism, the collaboration with the Germans, the politics and the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Hugh Russell
3.0 out of 5 stars a good read.
A bit far fetched at timesbut most enjoyable. It took place at a very interesting time for me and for France.
Published 2 months ago by Jennifer Gordon
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Novel Set In Vichy France
Inspector Lasses of the Bordeaux police department has one son working for the Vichy government and another trying to escape to join the free French in Algeria. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A really good read
So well written and so interesting about the situation in France in the early stages of the war as well as the whodunit background.
Published 2 months ago by Anne Farmer
4.0 out of 5 stars Continuing Saga in wartime France
Follows on seamlessly from the first in the series' Death in B......". I find the series an entertaining easy read. Read more
Published 4 months ago by smiley494
4.0 out of 5 stars Moral dilemmas made harder
To appreciate this tale fully it is helpful to have already read the same author's Death in Bordeaux. This begins where its predecessor ended. Read more
Published 7 months ago by G. M. Sinstadt
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