Customer Review

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnifique!, 4 May 2012
This review is from: The Dying Minutes: (Jacquot 7) (Paperback)
I was sent The Dying Minutes a week or two ago and noted that this was 'A Daniel Jacquot Novel' and is all about an ex-rugby playing French detective and set in Marseilles. Gallic shrug from moi and Que? I opened it and started to read and immediately found myself gripped (or should that be grippe...). I have not been to France for years and years and have never been to Marseilles, but after a few chapters of Martin O'Brien's book I had this overwhelming desire to catch a flight and fly there immediately. My French is of the La Plume de ma tante et sur la table de Mon Oncle variety, I know how to order a cafe au lait, can say Merde with the best of them and that is it, but I had this vision of moi sitting at a table on the waterfront knocking back a cafe, a Calva, eating freshly grilled fish and Danielsmoking a Galois, none of which I would dream of doing in real life. The book reeks of France and the sea and I simply loved it.

Two deaths occur. One is that of Philo, a fisherman known among his friends and acquaintances as le Philosophe, not because he was particularly clever or wise, but because he always had a book in his hand (my kind of homme) and there were not many fishermean who lay back on their drying nets to read a book. He leaves his executor to give his boat, Constance, to somebody who will love and appreciate her and thus it comes into the hands of our Hero, Daniel Jacquot recently recovering from being shot (an earlier book one presumes).

Second death - that of a convicted felon, Pierre-Louis Lombard. On his death bed he asks for his lawyer, Claude Dupont, to visit him and gives him a packet to take away. This packet contains the key to a long term left luggage locker in the Gare Saint-Charles and he is given instructions to take out its contents and deal with what is there.

"The first things he saw was the gold. A dull yellow glimmer at the bottom of the case...one by one he lifted out half a dozen linen drawstring bags....wads of banknotes bound in paper collars and rubber bands....a walled stack of currency twenty centimetres high. Then the black velvet pouches....diamonds, maybe thirty or forty stones, emeralds, green as wet moss and in the third pouch a spill of deep blue sapphires..."

Also in the bag are packets of documents and photos all of which are of prominent people in compromising situations. Dupont decides to use these photos to bring about retribution and starts sending them out to selected recipients all of whom react in different ways (one is a priest with a penchant for choir boys who commits suicide when he opens his morning mail and see what is inside).

Starting this process unfortunately starts a chain of events which soon lose control and it is not long before Mr Dupont and Mrs Dupont receive some very unpleasant visitors...

In total contrast, we hear of a refuge for battered wives receiving a large donation, in cash and anonymously, which will help keep them going for years; a small shabby cinema also receives money, enough to refurbish and to keep going and other charities and good causes find themselves blessed with unexpected largesse.

So two deaths, two different legacies - how are they tied together?

The answer is: gold. As we learn in a short prologue at the start of the book there was a gold heist, daring and well planned some thirty years before. Most of the gold was recovered but one lorry load went missing and somebody is still determined to find out where it went.

A great read, packed full of wonderful characters, danger, romance, sex, greed, excitement and culminating in an action packed boat chase and shoot out which I can imagine would make a stunning finish if this was ever filmed. Had me on the edge of my seat (several books have done that to me lately, it's getting a bit worn) and could not put down and was up till after midnight last night finishing it.

Off now to hunt out the rest of this series.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Jun 2014 01:11:18 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 Jun 2014 01:16:12 BDT
jkobi2011 says:
I liked the book enormously.Mr.O'Brien has a wonderful power of describing the sights sounds and smell of Marseilles.
it is a pity that he is so fond of the word heist which in my experience people in England rarely use.i don't know how often americans actually use the word

I was not happy with the ending.
I appreciate that conventional morality meant that having
Claudine as the pregnant girl friend and her sister Delphie as the Parisian journalist jacquot would satisfy Mr.O'Brien's female readers but
Isabelle Cassier gave the book an additional flavour above the usual cops and
robbers story and could have provided the basis for a new book.
I suspect that Mr.O'Brien discussed the ending with his editor and the story
ended in the way it did because of the advice which Mr.O'Brien received from his editor. Please Mr.O'Brien change your editor.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Jun 2014 06:00:45 BDT
it seems that Martin O no longer has a publisher as they have stopped doing his books. Cannot understand why. He is contemplating going the Indy route and do his books as ebooks, so fingers crossed he does
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Elaine Simpson-long
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Location: Colchester, UK

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