After entrusting a first investigation to a mismatched tandem of police officers, author J. L. Blanchard does it again in an even more thrilling story.
Is it because we got used to it or because we expected it? But the Lamouche and Bonneau duo created by J. L. Blanchard seems more credible in his new novel Les os de la méduse than it was in Le silence des pélicans, published last year.
In his previous work, the author already demonstrated his talent for catchy plots. But his Inspector Bonneau was so blundering, ignorant, steeped in prejudice and slow-witted that it was beyond caricature. Investigator Lamouche, for his part brilliant and arrogant rookie, had been imposed on him in order to push him to retire.
But the two men knew how to accommodate each other – and Blanchard intends to make his curious tandem last! This therefore earned us a second investigation under their direction. Fortunately, Lamouche gained depth. And if Bonneau is still drawn with thick lines, it seems to us to shake up the story less.
A perfect rebalancing so that the plot dominates. And she is worth it!
As in the previous novel, the book opens with a strong scene. From the first page, we are faced with an emaciated corpse who "stood straight on a chair, legs crossed, patiently waiting for someone to decide to open this closet door". The housekeeper will take care of it.
This is how we enter a luxurious Montreal residence, moreover inhabited by a count, as we find in the Old Countries. The man does not only have a noble ancestry, he is also very rich and a great collector, especially of paintings.
twists and turns
The world of art will also be at the heart of the twists and turns of the story, and a famous painting will take center stage: The Raft of the Medusa. The original painting, signed by Géricault, is on display at the Louvre, but the Count of Clairvaux has a copy that is worth its weight in gold.
On its own, the history of the painting and the Quebec counterpart that the author imagined are fascinating. When you add a skeleton, severed hands found in unexpected places and mysterious disappearances, there is enough to rack your brains – which Lamouche does while Bonneau sticks to the most boring evidence. In which he is not completely wrong.
We therefore let ourselves slide with pleasure into the investigation, again told in this pleasant tone that makes the pages turn.
This novel, however, puts more forward the collective work that characterizes the police world: the computer scientist, the technical team, the people in the laboratory, the expert investigators - like Mario Bédard, specialist in crimes in the world of art, which refers, in the real world, to the ex-policeman Alain Lacoursière.
The mismatched duo is therefore part of a solid group of pros, which makes it even more interesting for the hunt that will inevitably follow!