One of the lesser known benefits of working in a library is getting to empty the book drop. This means you get to see some of the books that are trending within your community. That is how home came across A Death in Brittany by Jean-Luc Bannalec. I checked it in and noticed the beautiful cover and the word Brittany (a place I’ve always wanted to visit) and set it aside to look at later. Very glad I did too. Further inspection revealed that it is the first book in a, so far, two part series. It features Commissaire Dupin a coffee addicted, Parisian policeman transferred to a small town on the south shore of the Brittany peninsula.
The main character in this story is Brittany and the Breton people. The fact that Dupin is the perpetual outsider is really what makes this possible. One of the things that struck me in Dupin’s commentary on Bretons and Brittany is how much it was like rural parts of New England. Where the locals have a strenuous love/hate relationship with the tourists and you aren’t really from “there” unless you can trace your ancestress back hundreds of years.
The plot of the story centers around a hotel owner and art collector with seemingly no enemies, who is murdered in his own hotel. Dupin is a somewhat abrasive character with a tendency to ignore people who get in his way. He still remains interesting multifaceted character since the story is from his perspective and is filled with his own introspection on his methods. The action is pretty slow passed and be prepared for lots of coffee breaks and visits to nice restaurants. Also be prepared to add Brittany to your bucket list if it isn’t there already.