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The Voice of the Spirits: A Commandant Michel de Palma Investigation by [BONNOT, XAVIER-, Bonnot, Xavier-Marie]
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The Voice of the Spirits: A Commandant Michel de Palma Investigation Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Length: 353 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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'It's a crime yarn with an intriguing backdrop, written in a subtle yet gripping style' Destination France Magazine.

'intriguing and enjoyable' Eurocrime.

From the Inside Flap

When Commandant Michel de Palma follows an anonymous tip-off to a gated mansion by the coast, he finds a body whose face is obscured by a fearsome tribal mask, beneath it a mysterious wound that could not have been caused by a bullet. Surrounded by scores of masks and painted skulls, de Palma hears the haunting strains of a primal flute from the floors above. With few leads to go on, de Palma delves into an account of the murdered doctor's voyage to Papua New Guinea seventy years earlier. As the doctor's attractive but distant granddaughter offers the commandant further insights into her grandfather's second life as an intrepid collector, he and his team stumble upon an art-smuggling ring working out of the Marseille docks. But when his chief suspect is found dead, killed by the same method as Dr Delorme, even de Palma begins to wonder whether the bodies on his hands are not the victims of spirits intent on revenge. The rituals of Papuan warriors and headhunters - whose traditional way of life endured until late into the twentieth century - form the intriguing backdrop to another subtle novel from one of France's most thought-provoking crime writers.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1804 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press (1 Mar. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0074VPKQW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #251,458 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the third,and very likely the best of the novels
featuring the Marseille detective,Commandant Michel de
Palma.He is nearing retirement,when ,as a result of a
tip-off,he discovers the body of an elderly retired
physician,fatally wounded,and with a tribal mask covering
his face.
The diseased was a collector of masks from Papua new Guinea,
and as de Palma studies an account of the physician's journey
to Papua New Guinea many years previously,he is faced with
a similar murder and the discovery of the smuggling of artistic
De Palma is an engaging appealing character.He is always a
pleasure to read about,and the novel is an unusual,exciting
mystery,that highlights the unsettling effects of Western
influence on primitive cultures.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Voice Of The Spirits and the other 2 books in the series are very different from my usual reading matter (straightforward police procedurals) and yet I found it and its predecessors compulsive reading. Ostensibly it is a police procedural as the main protagonist Michel de Palma is a policeman and it starts with a murder but after that all bets are off. The murdered man, Dr Delorme, is a doctor but also an explorer and avid collector of primitive artefacts, notably from Papua New Guinea. The narrative switches between the present day investigation and an account of Dr Delorme's trip to Papua New Guinea in the 1930s, both of which had me riveted. I liked de Palma's mix of iron fist and velvet glove to uncover information and the New Guinea episodes were really informative but, I felt, a little confusing - I'm not sure I have the intricacies of their beliefs straight in my mind. I thought the ending was extremely sad but, unfortunately, all too realistic. I can't say any more than that without spoilers but I think it is one of the best endings I have ever read. Michel de Palma is a very likeable character with an interesting history and potential future and I would like to read more so maybe Mr Bonnot will postpone his retirement.
I'm not particularly keen on intellectual novels as I prefer to disappear into the plot but what this novel has to say about western colonialism and the damage it has inflicted on colonised nations is striking - not just the loss of culture but the poverty and dissatisfaction it engenders - and is very definitely food for thought. It is not an easy read - you have to concentrate to keep up but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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By Raven TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Opening with the steamy and luscious surrounds of 1930`s Papua New Guinea in the company of artefact seekers and then transporting us to modern day Marseilles, Bonnot has constructed a thriller that is not only thoughtful and intelligent but demonstrates an exceptional attention to detail. The murders in the contemporary story are committed in the traditional style of the head-hunters of New Guinea which does make for interesting interludes for exploring the anthropological history and tribal ceremonies of this region with much pursuing of sacred skulls, and the tracking of a killer well-versed in these traditional hunting methods, as the sins of the past impact on the present.
The main plot is driven and shaped by the razor-sharp detection of the utterly charming Commandant Michel de Palma. De Palma is a detective fuelled by logic and rational reasoning but this leaves him open to try and conduct his personal affairs with the same thought processes instead of acting impetuously in his pursuit of the buxom beauty Eva from the bakery - but will his tentative approach eventually pay off? His police counterparts are also extremely well drawn and I particularly like the relationship between himself and Maistre who himself likes nothing better than donning his housewife's apron and preparing (admittedly frozen) meals for his friend and boss even if de Palma does chide him for dressing up like his Nan to do this.
The only bone of contention with me was the sometimes clunky translation from the original French where very modern English colloquialisms sit uneasily beside translations like 'Hop it'.
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