Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi

Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi

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Michel Bussi has proven himself a great crime writer. This is the second book of his I have read so I know what I’m talking about. His first book translated into English: After the Crash was one of the best books of 2015: a fast paced novel about identities and two families fighting over one child. It was highly addictive and I had the same hopes for his new book: Black Water Lilies. The story is set in the beautiful village of Giverny, famous for Claude Monet’s gardens. You know the painting with the little green bridge, that garden. Not so scenic when a man is found dead in the stream that runs through the quiet village and tourist hotspot. In his pocket is a postcard of Monet’s Water Lilies with the words: Eleven years old. Happy Birthday.

After the Crash was told over over the series of 24 hours, this is a little slower at thirteen days. This murder is told from three viewpoints: a young girl with a flare for painting, her teacher and the crazy old woman who lives in the windmill. Two out of town detectives are brought in to investigate the murder. The gentleman in question is Jerome Morval, an art enthusiast and adulter. Is the reason for the murder the long last Black Water Lilies or a jealous wife or girlfriend? For such an idyllic village, there are many secrets.

Maybe I went into it with too high expectations as it just isn’t the same as his first. A much slower book with more relationships and history than crime busting and high stakes but gently peels back the layers to reveal the answers. I also had trouble telling the police men apart. Sometimes they were called by their first names and sometimes they were called by their surname. One was about to have a baby and one had feelings for one of the suspects. Nonetheless, it is a perfectly crafted book with hints of truths and art history.

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