Most helpful positive review
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A clever, witty romp through Brittany
on 13 July 2014
This book is listed as crime fiction, but it is so much more than that. If you’re only interested in how fast a book gets you into the action, and how fast-paced the story is, then you’ll probably get little enjoyment out of it. On the other hand, if you want a richer, more satisfying reading experience, then you’ll definitely enjoy it. People Like Us could be called a character study, but it is more of a study of a number of characters.
The story is narrated by Nick Keszthelyi, as amoral and shallow a protagonist as you’ll ever find, and his nasty observations of just about everyone and everything in the village in Brittany where the story takes place run through-out this tale of his attempt to steal a priceless work of art from a local convent. As Nick is neither a very competent criminal, nor a particularly conscientious human being, his half-baked plans lead to death and destruction. His reaction to what could be horrifying for others varies from bemusement to annoyance at the inconvenience he is constantly being put through.
And, totally self-absorbed as he is, he is somehow still likable, as is his partner in crime Estrade, who may well be a heartless, serial criminal himself. Although the story revolves around the theft from the convent, much time is dedicated to Nick’s run-ins and affairs with the locals, including a large British expatriate community trying to blend in with the French countryside. In fact, the theft is often secondary to Nick’s observations of these various characters and the shops, museums and restaurants in the area. As I said, if you’re in a big hurry to get to the crime, you might not enjoy this book. If you, like me, enjoy excellent prose, clever commentary on human behaviour, a dry wit and fully-realized characters, in other words, a very good book, then you’ll enjoy this a great deal.