The Frozen Dead - Bernard Minier - Mulholland Books
Most of us will read more books whilst on holiday than we normally do. I certainly fall within this category. One of the books which I read during my recent lazy hazy sojourn was a translation of Bernard Minier's debut novel, "The Frozen Dead." What I can still remember of my O- level French forty years after the event would not be adequate to read this book in Minier's native tongue.
If one has to allocate a book to a specific genre and I suppose one must, then I think the best description for this one is probably, "crime thriller."
The backdrop for the novel is the French Pyrenees. The opening scenes involve the discovery of the decapitated body of a horse owned by a well connected local industrialist. This prompts a Toulouse police officer by the name of Servaz being sent to take charge of the resultant enquiry. The story is related through this Latin quoting character and a psychologist by the name of Diane Berg. This latter individual has just commenced work in an institution for the criminally insane which happens to be in the same valley as the equine remains were discovered in. Servaz comes across as a believable character, Diane Berg less so.
Two murders follow and there is the disturbing discovery at all three crime scenes of the DNA of one of the, "residents," of the secure unit. A nearby and now abandoned children's summer school will prove to have a connection to the deaths.
The build up to the denouement is well paced although I did find the actual climax of the novel slightly weak. However perhaps that is being rather churlish because as a holiday read it was enjoyable, - good escapism. I believe that Minier has now brought out a second novel and I would be tempted to add it to my reading list.