Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pierce’s Picks: “Death on the Pont Noir”

A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.

Death on the Pont Noir, by Adrian Magson (Allison & Busby UK):
Set again in 1963, this third novel (after Death on the Rive Nord) to feature French Inspector Lucas Rocco finds Magson’s man puzzling out how a succession of incidents--including a truck collision in the Picardie region and a bar brawl involving intoxicated Englishmen--relate to yet another plot to assassinate President Charles de Gaulle. Rocco is certain that a connection does exist, and therefore he’s recruited to help with the president’s security. But after the inspector deduces the likely location of the next attack on De Gaulle, his superiors express deep doubts about Rocco’s evidence, driving him to investigate the case on his own--a task that will pit him against English gangsters, present him with a corpse in a burned-out ex-army truck, and lead to his suspension. Even amid allegations that he’s been taking bribes, Rocco persists, hoping to head off what could be a disaster for France. Magson’s Rocco mysteries, like the entries in his espionage series starring MI5 agent Harry Tate (Deception), offer ample suspense, a rapid storytelling pace, and intriguing collections of characters. The colorful French backdrop and Magson’s attention to the details of the country’s political history are welcome bonuses.

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