Book Review: 'The Murdered House'
The quirky Gallic mystery The Murdered House takes place long before Peter Mayle made a cottage industry out of Provence, back when you could still hear ”the truffle-oaks on the Lurs hillside soughing in the hot wind.” A Provencal road worker, Seraphin Monge, is determined to discover the identity of the men who slaughtered his family when he was a baby, inexplicably sparing only him. Magnan unfurls his story deliberately, almost hypnotically. House contains many pleasures, especially for those with a weakness for the customs of southern France. Not only is Pierre Magnan’s plotting gratifyingly unpredictable, his characters have a certain je ne sais quoi too: Who but a French doctor would be quite so supercilious when examining the contents of a drowned man’s stomach? B+