Sara-Jayne Townsend is a published crime and horror writer and likes books in which someone dies horribly. She is founder and Chair Person of the T Party Writers’ Group. http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com/
Paris, 1899: Marcel Després arrives home from work one day to find his wife having sex with another man. He picks up a gun, shoots her dead and is arrested and taken to the famous Salpetriere Asylum.
But the story doesn’t end there, as both the doctor tending Mr. Després and the policeman assigned to the case discover something remarkable about the patient: Marcel Després is Mr Memory, a man who retains the memory of absolutely everything he’s ever seen, and is incapable of forgetting anything. And they both soon realise that there is far more to this murder case than there appears to be.
This is quite an unusual book, and I found it initially hard to get into. Although Marcel is a fascinating character – not only does he remember everything, he is also incapable of lying – he comes across as being quite personality-less initially, and the writing style somewhat expository. However the more Inspector Laurent Petit spends talking to Marcel, the more convinced he is that there is something fishy about his story. And yet Marcel is incapable of lying, so how could he be concealing the truth? In the end, you can’t help but feel sorry for Marcel, who has become an unwitting pawn in a very complex game.
A story that starts out rather dry takes a couple of unexpected turns, and the streets of nineteenth century Paris really come alive in this novel that is as much a character study as it is a mystery. And the mystery is most certainly there – it just turns out to be not the one we are expecting.