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Death in Brittany

Death in Brittany, July 2015
Commissaire Dupin
by Jean-Luc Bannalec

Minotaur Books
Featuring: Commissaire Dupin
320 pages
ISBN: 1250061741
EAN: 9781250061744
Kindle: B00QQ9ST1Q
Hardcover / e-Book
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"An intriguing debut mystery involving art, family secrets and murder!"

Fresh Fiction Review

Death in Brittany
Jean-Luc Bannalec

Reviewed by Audrey Lawrence
Posted August 21, 2015

Mystery Police Procedural | Mystery

Despite a lifetime of enjoying life as a Parisian, Commissaire Georges Dupin has adapted quite well to the slower pace of life he now experiences since being transferred to the remote but very picturesque coastal area of Brittany on the northwest coast of France. Life is particularly pleasurable now that it is summer with the buzz of the tourists and the tang of salt in the air as the Commissaire lingers over his excellent coffee and croissants.

The intrusion of a phone call ruins his reflections. There has been a murder in Pont-Aven and Dupin is needed to head the investigation. The murder scene is shocking and all the more so for being in such idyllic surrounding. Even more surprising is that the victim is Pierre-Louis Penne, the 91-year-old owner of the impressive Central Hotel, famous for being a key place where Gauguin painted and the heart of the art colony there. Who would murder such an old man and why so brutally? The family members all seem to be in the clear, but there is something just under the pleasant veneer.

DEATH IN BRITTANY is the first case in the debut police procedural novel involving the abrupt, yet thoughtful and coffee loving Commissaire Dupin. While it is written under the name of Jean-Luc Bannalec, it is a pseudonym attributed to the well-regarded Jorg Bong. DEATH IN BRITTANY has already been on best-seller lists in Europe as it was previously released in German in 2012 and where subsequent novels in the series have also been published to strong acclaim.

It is obvious that Bannalec intimately knows the hues and nuances of Brittany very well and shows a love for the region, as well as its culture and its good food and wine, which are all deftly integrated into the descriptions of the hotel, the villages, the meals and how the weather influences the mood. Fans who enjoy getting fully immersed in the scenery and story will particularly appreciate the writer's talents in this regard.

DEATH IN BRITTANY can easily be read as a stand-alone story, yet fans who want more will be pleased to know that more cases involving Dupin will be on their way. While I found some of the writing inconsistent at times, I love Bannalec's talent in bringing the scenery and the description of art to vivid life. His characters, while eccentric, also ring true as their mannerisms and speech are authentic to who they are.

Fans of murder mysteries who enjoy a more traditional style without non-stop, fast-paced action are sure to delight in DEATH IN BRITTANY and how Dupin can intuit out the murderer from the clues he has. Can you do the same?

So, indulge in a glass of French wine or a wonderful coffee and enjoy a trip to France via DEATH IN BRITTANY!

Learn more about Death in Brittany


Commissaire Georges Dupin, a Parisian-born caffeine junkie recently relocated from the glamour of Paris to the remote (if picturesque) Breton coast, is not happy when he is dragged from his morning croissant and coffee to the scene of a curious murder. The local village of Pont-Aven-a sleepy community by the sea where everyone knows one other and nothing much seems to happen-is in shock. The legendary ninety-one-year-old hotelier Pierre-Louis Pennec, owner of the Central Hotel, has been found dead.

A picture-perfect seaside village which played host to Gaugin in the 19th century, Pont-Aven is at the height of its tourist season and is immediately thrown into uproar. Dupin and his team identify five principal suspects, including a rising political star, a longtime friend of the victim, and a wealthy art historian. An obstinate detective whose unconventional methods include good food, good wine, and taking in plenty of sea air, Dupin finds his case further complicated when ongoing incidents compound the mystery. As Dupin delves further into the lives of the victim and the suspects, he uncovers a web of secrecy and silence that belies the village's quaint image. A delectable read, Death in Brittany by Jean-Luc Bannalec transports readers to the French coast where you can practically smell the sea air and taste the perfectly cooked steak frites in an expertly crafted, page-turning mystery.

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