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Death in Bordeaux Paperback – 1 Jun 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Quartet Books (1 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0704371901
  • ISBN-13: 978-0704371903
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'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' --Sunday Times

'The plot Massie lays before his readers is so satisfyingly complex that you'd be best off reading the book in one sitting; it is so well written that you'll probably find yourself doing that anyway. Thought-provoking, fast-paced and gripping throughout, it is the work of a natural storyteller at the height of his powers' --Scotsman

'Remarkable' --Literary Review

About the Author

Allan Massie is the author of twenty novels including the critically acclaimed World War II trilogy: A Question of Loyalties, The Sins of the Father, and Shadows of Empire. He read History at Cambridge and, as a political and literary journalist, has contributed to most national newspapers including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman and The Spectator.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By AlexM on 27 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
These are fascinating books and I recommend them. From which you will infer that I think of them as a trilogy, to be read in order – Death in Bordeaux, Dark Summer in B and then Cold Winter in B. (Same review for each book.) I had never really thought much about the realities of the Occupied/Vichy France situation during WWII but these three books set me thinking and wanting to learn more. The ongoing story of Lannes and his family give an internal structure to the books, quite apart from the detective work. Editing should have picked up earlier the incorrect Travaux Rurales, thankfully changed to Travaux Ruraux from book three. And every so often you come across a word and think to yourself “That’s the original French rather than the appropriate English word” and then you realise that it’s not a translation but original English. I wish now I had noted examples but look for them yourself and don’t let this spoil your enjoyment!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. Agarwal on 12 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought it really as a who dun it but its much more than that.It explores what happened as the Vichy republic was formed during the second world war.It explores the dilemas that many were faced with in a very believable fashion.There were some, very believable monsters but most were just ordinary people trying to do their best.No heros and not many real villians,which is what it probably was like.Looking forward to more in this series.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Kirsty on 20 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
The copy editor of this book should be taken out and shot. There were so many errors, most of which would have been caught with a standard spell and grammar check program. I enjoyed the book, but finding mistakes on nearly every page really stopped me from getting into the story.
I hope the publisher tries a lot harder on the next two volumes of the trilogy.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Isobel Murray on 23 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Massie is an expert on vichy France in the Second world War, as his earlier, prize-winning A Question of Loyalties amply demonstrated. Now he revisits the stricken country, where people are torn between conflicting loyalties, and tells a compelling detective story in this tense background. Superb!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. Allen on 11 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
Loved this book. It recreates what life was like for the locals under the German occupation of Bordeaux with clarity and style. In the atmospheric stakes it's up there with the early Alan Fursts. More than a mystery story, it deals with morality and morals. But oh for a competent copy editor! The book is littered with errors, misspellings, wrong words, new paragraphs where there should be none, and missing letters. It becomes very tiresome. Quartz Books should be ashamed to put this on the market in this state. I really hope the other two have had a little more care and attention paid to the printed word.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWERTOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
The first book in Allan Massie's Bordeaux/Inspector Superintendent Lannes series and good one it is. Protagonist Lannes reminded me of the protagonist in Donna Leon's Venice crime stories--Commassarrio Brunetti (another time and another place, of course).. He's a decent man and great cop who finds himself increasingly beset by outside forces that prevent him from carrying out the basic function of his job--investigating and solving major crimes. It is difficult enough in early 1940 with France engaged in a sitzkrieg war with Nazi Germany while French political factions on the right, left and middle jockey for power; the war heats up, the Germans invade, France surrenders, the Vichy collaborationist government is formed and Bordeaux is occupied by the Nazis. In the midst of this sequence of events, Lannes' attempts to solve the murder of an old acquaintance are increasingly stymied by political higher ups for reasons that seem to go back in time to the Spanish Civil War. The Superintendent is not the kind of policeman to let a crime go unsolved and takes great personal risk to unravel the original murder which eventually expands into a multi-death case.

What's especially good about this book, beyond its highly credible historic context, are the interesting characters that author Allan Massie has created--each with an original and interesting voice and perspective. The characters' interactions are natural and appropriate--few false notes here. The villains of the piece are diabolical enough, but they are more than one dimension, and more than one of them makes a cogent argument for collaboration with the Nazis that seems perfectly matched to the desperate time and situation that France found itself in after losing the war.
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I would agree with a previous reviewer who wrote that the copy editor of this book should be taken out and shot — a slightly unfortunate image given the book's setting and time period — except that I doubt there ever was such a person. Almost every page has homonyms, wrong quotation marks, missing quotation marks, missing punctuation, odd paragraph breaks or no break where there should be one, and so on.
Worse, it seems in places as if there were no editorial input whatever. One small instance is a bottle put away in a cupboard that mysteriously appears in a character's hands a sentence later. There is little excuse for not picking this kind of thing up. More importantly there is a sudden and, it feels, unnecessary change of point of view, late on in the story which, which seems remarkably amateurish for such an experienced and competent writer as does the frequent repetition of certain words, notably "disgust/disgusting" throughout, and the apparent determination to 'convince' the reader by naming what must be every third street and brasserie in Bordeaux. Each grammatical or stylistic error has the effect of jerking the reader out of the story which is a pity since Massie captures the feel of Bordeaux at the start of WW2 persuasively and the story itself is initially involving.
Overall the book reads more like a second draft — in one place there's even what seems like a 'note to self' in the text — than a book polished by either author or editor. The first few pages seemed both formulaic and tentative, as if the writer were playing himself in, just getting the feel of the writing. The story overall seems uncertain with, to me, an unsatisfactory ending, or, rather, an ending which would have been satisfactory had there been more to it.
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