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Mayhem in the Marais by Léo Malet
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This is the third of the Nouveaux Mystères de Paris series, set in the Marais (representing the third Arondissement for the purposes of the series), a district that was much less trendy in the late fifties than it is now. We get the usual hyper-active and corpse-infested kind of plot, a new and very splendid instance of the blonde femme fatale (this one in glorious snakeskin shoes), and the necessary touches of local colour: an illegal pawnbroker-slash-fence, a backstreet foundry, and the not altogether death-defying Cirque d'hiver. Not to mention a buried-treasure subplot drawing on the area's medieval history. And a teddy-bear and a pair of frilly knickers...

As usual, it's all about Nestor Burma's ironic asides to the reader and his gloriously absurd similes, with only the magnificently sensible Hélène to keep him on the rails (and revive any blonde that happens to faint - not once but twice - in his office). Great fun, as long as you don't attempt to take it seriously.
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  thorold | Apr 20, 2017 |
Ecco: quando si ha voglia di un libro da ombrellone, un piacevole intrattenimento insomma, questo è l'ideale. Tutti gli ingredienti del genere, una storia intrigona, una Parigi misteriosa, un protagonista simpatico. Lo chiamano "noir" perché l'io narrante fa l'investigatore privato e non è un eroe senza macchia e perchè i personaggi della vicenda di macchie ne hanno molte: ma siamo ben lontani da Izzo e dalle sue atmosfere cupe e disperate, intendiamoci bene. Narrato con penna leggera, humor e ironia, senza scavi psicologici nel nero dell'animo umano, è davvero un libro di intrattenimento. Di ottimo livello, però, e assolutamente non datato anche se è uscito nel 1955. E al contrario dei gialli di recente uscita, non è nemmeno prevedibile nella trama.
  Lilliblu | Aug 4, 2012 |
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