As a child, she was the only witness to a heinous crime. Now, Catherine Monsigny is an ambitious rookie attorney in Paris, working for a well-known firm. On the side, she does pro bono work and hits the jackpot: a major felony case that could boost her career. A black woman is accused of poisoning her rich farmer husband in a peaceful village in central France, where nothing ever happens. While preparing the case, Catherine’s own past comes back with a vengeance. This fast-paced story follows Catherine’s determined search for the truth in both her case and her own life. Who can she believe? And can you ever escape from your past? The story twists and turns, combining subtle psychological insight with detailed descriptions of the region.
Author, screenwriter and actress Sylvie Granotier loves to weave plots that send shivers up your spine. She was born in Algeria and grew up in Paris and Morocco. She studied literature and theater in Paris, then set off traveling —the United States, Brazil, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, ending with a tour of Europe. She wound up in Paris again, an actress, with a job and some recognition. But she is a writer at heart, and started her publishing career translating Grace Paley’s short story collection Enormous Changes at the Last Minute into French. Fourteen novels and many short stories later, Sylvie Granotier is a major crime fiction author in France. She has met with continued success, and is translated into German, Italian, Russian and Greek. The Paris Lawyer is her first novel to be translated into English. This legal procedural that doubles as a psychological thriller is full of plot twists that bring us into the heart of French countryside, La Creuse, a place full of nineteenth-century landscapes and dark secrets. Sylvie splits her time between Paris and the Creuse.
This is not easy for me to review. There was so much I didn’t like but I could not put it down. There is no question, it is very well written. But it is very narrative and I like dialogue driven books. I never put a book down immediately. I have read books that the first chapter was very narrative. Setting a mood, a time, a place, some backstory. Then went on to be a book I enjoyed. So I always give a well written book a chance. And this is very well written. But after a couple of chapters, I put it down. Nothing says I have to read a book. But the book compelled me to pick it up again and read. And that says it all. A book that is so much what I don’t like in a book and yet I couldn’t help myself. I had to read it. It is very psychologically complex. A large part of the book is inside the head of young lawyer Catherine Monsigny. As a very young child she was present when her mother was brutally murdered. Her father has never discussed it. Tried to protect her. But suddenly, when she goes to the Creuse for a case, she starts having flashes of memory. She is in the Creuse to defend a woman accused of murdering her husband. The young African woman, Myriam, is accused of murdering the much older Gaston who married her because her papers were irregular and he wanted a life, denied to him by his overbearing wealthy mother until she died when he was sixty. Catherine is in such turmoil. The client she is not sure about. The father who will not open up to her. The lover who… I’ll let you find out. This is a book full of red herrings and twists leading up to an unexpected and tragic ending that leads to a new life. Like me, you will be glad you read it. ♥♥♥♥