I'm a fan of Europa Editions. The publishing house takes non-American books, translates them, then markets them here. This allows for us to have access to fantastic and different books from the traditional American oeuvre, or books that the larger houses determine would be "suitable for American consumption." The popular The Elegance of the Hedgehog was one of Europa's.
Europa also has a new imprint, called World Noir, focusing on crime fiction. I read one of these over my week in Wisconsin. Philippe Georget's mystery novel, Summertime, All the Cats are Bored was a delightful read . . . and really . . . what a crazy and awesome title!?! (One that makes even more sense in the last few pages of the book.)
Gilles Sebag is a police officer in Perpignan, in the south of France. When a Dutch young woman is killed, another attacked, and another missing, Sebag and his department are asked to investigate. This leads Sebag in a wicked game of cat & mouse. Meanwhile, Sebag is becoming more and more concerned that his beloved wife Claire is having an affair and wondering about his adolescent children's growing distance (as kids tend to do).
It sounds simple. But, Georget includes humor - mostly in the form of Sebag, a somewhat bumbling French police officer, and his equally funny co-officers. We get a full picture of Sebag's life; including his children and wife. Often, in mysteries, not much attention is given to creating well-rounded characters, since they are often secondary to the mystery plot. I commend Georget for offering up something more interesting.
But the meat of the story is a horrific murder and the kidnapped woman's prison dungeon. It is a talented author that can combine humor with such horrors. Georget also did an amazing job creating the setting. The south of France was incredibly alive in this novel.
The chapters take us through Sebag's POV, the murderer's, and Ingrid's - the kidnapped woman. I was fascinated throughout as to what would happen next. Sure, there were moments when I wanted to knock the inspectors over the head for not making certain clue connections.
And REALLY EDITOR!??!? There were far too many typos throughout this edition that distracted me and sadly, made me wonder about Europa Editions. No doubt, they are doing a great service by offering these books, but so many of these typos were too blatant.