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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wartime Sexual and Political Intrigue
In October, 1942, in Bordeaux, Superintendent Jean Lannes is summoned to a murder. The respected Gabrielle Peniel appears to be the victim of a crime of passion. Lannes is not convinced. His investigations open the floodgates to a scenario of intrigue. Set against a background of a German presence and threat of occupation, where anti-Semitism is rife, the author...
Published 5 months ago by ACB (swansea)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gnomic
I enjoyed this slightly less than the two earlier parts of the trilogy (Death in ... / Dark Summer in ... ). Again, the murder (of an unpleasant piano teacher) is merely the maguffin that gets the ball rolling. The main business, of course, in the moral greyness that characterises life in occupied France. In order, though, to capture the obliqueness and necessarily...
Published 1 month ago by JK


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wartime Sexual and Political Intrigue, 2 Mar 2014
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ACB (swansea) - See all my reviews
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In October, 1942, in Bordeaux, Superintendent Jean Lannes is summoned to a murder. The respected Gabrielle Peniel appears to be the victim of a crime of passion. Lannes is not convinced. His investigations open the floodgates to a scenario of intrigue. Set against a background of a German presence and threat of occupation, where anti-Semitism is rife, the author constructs a realistic portrayal of the period where misery, desolation, and distrust are everywhere. Lannes has his personal problems. His sons are both pro-France but are involved from opposing forces. His daughter is in love with an idealistic influenced anti-Bolshevik. Lannes side-lines these problems by continuing with his civilian police role yet his cool exterior disguises his inner anxieties. This is an impractical approach, as Lannes is embroiled in the investigation of a murder involving a web of sexual, political, secretive and subversive activities.

The murder is merely a fulcrum that Allan Massie uses to develop his complex plot. It highlights the scenario of the 1942-3 wartime French situation with its insecurity and the powers that control the perspective in the short term for self-gratification. This approach comes across against the visionary beliefs of the fanatics. The novel conveys the atmosphere and dangers of occupied France. Bordeaux may be in the throes of more adverse times, clearly threatened, but the author mixes day-to-day life amongst the local community with the subversive influences enforced from the controlling hierarchy.

A well-crafted novel of war-times with a central theme of a complex crime that draws the threads of the narrative into an absorbing experience. Lannes is portrayed in a diplomatic, hound-dog Maigret-style, restricted by personal and superior forces. He is readily warmed to. The author conveys the policeman's self-imposed discipline in an excellent and enlightening read. More to come is promised and welcomed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gnomic, 13 July 2014
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I enjoyed this slightly less than the two earlier parts of the trilogy (Death in ... / Dark Summer in ... ). Again, the murder (of an unpleasant piano teacher) is merely the maguffin that gets the ball rolling. The main business, of course, in the moral greyness that characterises life in occupied France. In order, though, to capture the obliqueness and necessarily allusive nature of nearly all conversation of any interest in Vichy France, Massie has been forced to require much of his reader - and, I must admit, I sometimes failed him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading, 30 April 2014
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The follow up from the two previous books was every bit as good. and I shall look forward to the forth book in the series
This is a thriller you can't put down!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read the trilogy in order to get full enjoyment, 27 Aug 2014
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars French occupation setting., 1 May 2014
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This review is from: Cold Winter in Bordeaux (Paperback)
A good story with a rather complex but enlightening revelation of the difficulties facing French families during the German occupation.
Probably rather too much emphasis on the homosexual inclinations of many of the characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars part of a series....read in order, 29 April 2014
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Russell (Lanarkshire, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cold Winter in Bordeaux (Paperback)
Thoroughly enjoyed reading these books ..this is the third and would definitely buy the 4th if it comes out. The story is more meandering at times than gripping but Massie has a knack of holding your interest with all the various strands to the story. It is rich in background to the angst that gripped the French people during occupation and how divisive this was for their sense of identity. To get the best of them you need to read them in order so that the main character, Lannes, becomes like a familiar friend and you share his introspection and develop an understanding of the presures he is under to do the right thing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER OUTSTANDING ALLAN MASSIE NOVEL, 19 April 2014
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The third of the Bordeaux novels and as complex and enjoyable as the first two. The sense of fear of the German occupation and the feeling of futility and powerlessness are clear.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good read, 4 April 2014
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A very atmospheric trio of novels that provides an interesting insight into the complexities of life during the occupation of France.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continuing high standards, 30 Mar 2014
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I bought the series of 3 books when I read the review in the Spectator. The second book continued and was just as enjoyable as the first and I am now on the third. A really interesting social study as well as an interesting police procedural and detection as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, 19 Mar 2014
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I really enjoyed this book - in fact the series to date and can't wait for the next episode. Authentic dialogue created a real atmoshere of war time France and the storyline reflected the history in a stark but informative way.
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Cold Winter in Bordeaux
Cold Winter in Bordeaux by Allan Massie (Paperback - 28 Feb 2014)
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