This is a book that I first read as part of my French classes at school – it is a translation of Japrisot’s “L’été meurtrier” – and I’d wanted to read it again for a while, so I took it on holiday last summer to Spain where some days it was blisteringly hot. Perfect reading conditions for this book.
A young woman is out to avenge a vicious attack on her mother many years ago. The impact on all those pulled into her path is life-changing.
The story is told from the differing vantage points of some of the main characters and you are given a lot of information – especially dates – which allows you to build up a fuller picture of what is going on. Towards the end of the book you need to keep reading as you know there is very little time left to bring the story to a close. You really do have to read to the very last word to know how things come together. It is very well done, leaving you to reflect on all that you have learnt so far. I was left with a sense of horror at the end.
A little word of warning: the writing style might not be to everyone’s taste as this is a translation of a 1970’s French book. As with Japrisot’s earlier book “Trap for Cinderella” the translation leaves something to be desired. Some phrases are translated too literally, but to be fair, the author does play about with the language of the young woman especially when she refers to herself in the third person and exaggerates periods of time that have passed. Still, don’t let this put you off – it reflects aspects of the character’s personality and you get used to it.
If you’re a fan of crime books and fancy a break from all the Scandinavian noir I highly recommend this Gallic story of deception, consequences and revenge served cold.