The Godmother, by Hannelore Cayre

June 17, 2020

 

I don’t read much crime fiction, so I may be mistaken, but I don’t think this refreshing French award-winner follows the typical pattern.

 

Patience Portefeux is a 53 yr-old police translator tasked with deciphering the phone messages of north African drug gangs. But her elderly mum is in a home. It’s expensive. And she realises the information she gleans from the wire taps could help her set up her own lucrative drug trade.

 

I found The Godmother off-putting to start with, as the tone is a bit arrogant, brusque and pretentious, but as I got to know the main character I realised that she was the pretentious one, and the narrative was just wonderfully immersed in this unusual character. As soon as that clicked, the tone felt fresh and interesting, as did the main character’s moral outlook and the impact of her personal history.

 

A palate-cleansing read and a gripping crime narrative.

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