Under the Channel by Gilles Pétel
French Crime fiction
Original title – Sous la manche
Translators – Emily Boyce and Jane Aitken
Source – Review copy
Our Saviour. Two thieves. One is supposed to have been saved and the other (he searches for the contrary of saved) damned.”
– Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot via CLASSIC LIT
Gilles Pétel was born and brought up in Dunkirk , he studied Philosophy at the University of Nice , he then taught abroad for a number of year .He wrote his first book in 1996 ,this is his fifth novel and the first to be translated to English .He has taught in London during the Financial crisis working at a French school in London .
Roland really couldn’t face an argument tonight .He had only just left a crime scene .No matter how used he was to seeing dead bodies ,they still left him shaken, and he wasn’t prepared for coming home to a fight .
Roland and his wife are struggling when we first meet him in the book .
Well the story of this book is in the Title a man is murdered Under the Channel ,the man John Bunny a Forty five year old Scottish man living in London working as an estate agent ,arrives on the Eurostar at Paris and is found dead .So the case of his death is given to Roland Desfeuilleres A Forty year old married with kids ,his life is at a bit of a crossroads when he is given this case and goes to London to discover more about John Bunny and his life in London .But in doing so he maybe discovers that his life could of being something else with at first being wow by this man’s wonderful life in London ,but then he sees the flaws in it and what may have led to his death and also maybe learns something about his own life .
The doctor uncovered John Burny’s naked body , as the lieutenant looked impatiently on .Then he exclaimed :
“He’s in great shape ! how old did you say he was ?”
The victim looked younger than Desfeuilleres, although he was five years older .In spite of himself desfeuilleres felt envious ,jealous even ,hardly an appropriate reaction to the sight of the unfortunate man .
Roland sees John and maybe wants to see how this older man looked so much better than him .
Well this book is rather like a couple of series that have been on TV in recent year the bridge and the Tunnel ,what happens when a body is discovered or killed midway between two countries ,unlike those it is also a story of two men One alive and One dead .I felt the philosophy that Gilles ,had studied in some way as these two men John and Roland ,so close in age yet so different in the own lives enter each others lives ,Roland will learn a lot from this journey to London ,about himself , the modern world of money and power in the world and also what one man will give up to be on top in that world .Also it is a reminder of how great crime novels on trains or about trains can be ,from Murder on the orient express , through strangers on a train ,the edge by Dick Francis .As a train brings together people on a journey that aren’t meant to know each other and 750 people in a eurostar it is a great place to try and hide a crime or as here a murder .A clever book about two different lives colliding and neither being the same after .
Have you a favourite French crime novel