Cloaks and daggers
made in France
by Didier Daeninckx. Rupa France. Pages 176. Rs 195.
The Fairy Gunmother
by Daniel Pennac. Rupa France. Pages 247. Rs 295.
murder-mystery genre seems to belong to just a few writers. Names
like Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, PD James, Anne Perry keep
cropping up. It is unfortunate that newer writers do not seem to be
getting the exposure required to catch up with these giants.
Rupa’s effort to
promote new writers and cross-cultural literature is commendable.
Didier Daeninckx’s Murder in Memoriam and The Fairy
Gunmother by Daniel Pennac are both translations from the French
and introduce us to a new set of detectives and new settings for
murder and detection.
Didier Daeninckx takes
us all the way back to the Second World War and the German
occupation of France. The connection between the murder of a young
history teacher during a demonstration by Algerians in 1961 and his
son’s murder 20 years later lies somewhere in the township of
Drancy and its wartime role as a stopover for Jewish prisoners on
the way to concentration camps. It is up to Inspector Cadin of the
Toulouse Police Department to make this connection as he sifts
through convoluted wartime politics. An impressive amount of
research seems to have gone into the writing of this debut novel.
Daeninckx reveals the frightening world of racial prejudice and
political corruption that has conveniently been forgotten by entire
generations of French.