Amy Myers is known for her short stories and historical novels featuring Victorian chef Auguste Didier and chimney sweep Tom Wasp. Her contemporary series features classic car detective Jack Colby, and she is currently working on a new 1920s mystery series featuring Nell Drury, chef at Kent’s Wychbourne Court.
The author’s protagonist is a chief inspector, currently ‘out to graze’ in Cavaillon, north of Marseilles, where he formerly worked, and in Chapter One he is attending a country wedding a short drive away with his partner Claudine. It is a peaceful and enjoyable day, but its aftermath sets in train a series of horrifying events each one drawing closer to Jacquot himself. The action – which grows ever faster – moves from the countryside to Marseilles, from small villages to city back streets, with Jacquot both hunter and hunted in the race to stop the killer, with a nightmare denouement.
The south of France is a popular setting for crime novels, but this series stands out in the way it combines an evocative and appealing picture of everyday life with a fast-paced, well-plotted thriller peopled with believable and interesting characters.
Martin O’Brien is known for his travel writing, and in his fiction employs his expertise with a deft hand, conveying detail without overloading the story. The result is that the reader feels he is not so much looking into southern French life but right there experiencing it with the characters. The only question is: with crimes such as Jacquot is faced with, would that be wise?
Blood Counts is the sixth in O’Brien’s Daniel Jacquot series – which is good news for anyone who has had the misfortune not to have come across the series before. Waste no time. Read this one and you’ll be chasing the other five and looking forward to the seventh.