- Non Fiction
Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi
List Price: £12.99
Hardcover: 368 Pages.
Published: 30 June 2016 by W&N
Giverny. During the day, tourists flock to the former home of the famous artist Claude Monet and the gardens where he painted his Water Lilies. But when silence returns, there is a darker side to the peaceful French village.
This is the story of thirteen days that begin with one murder and end with another. Jérôme Morval, a man whose passion for art was matched only by his passion for women, has been found dead in the stream that runs through the gardens. In his pocket is a postcard of Monet's Water Lilies with the words: Eleven years old. Happy Birthday.
Entangled in the mystery are three women: a young painting prodigy, the seductive village schoolteacher and an old widow who watches over the village from a mill by the stream. All three of them share a secret. But what do they know about the discovery of Jérôme Morval's corpse? And what is the connection to the mysterious, rumoured painting of Black Water Lilies?
A clever piece of storytelling
This is a mystery based in the small town of Giverny which is famous for being the home of Monet and where his house and the famous pond which he painted so often are situated. We are told from the beginning that this is the story of three women, all of whom are residents of the town, a girl, a middle-aged wife and an elderly widow. The story is told from the points of view of these women and also features the criminal investigation into the death of a man in the town.
This is a cleverly constructed story where the author plays games with the reader. I had worked out quite soon in the novel what he was doing but it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book at all. I don't want to provide any spoilers so it is difficult to discuss the way that the book is written but I thought that it was engaging and interesting. The characters were excellently written and the writing style was accessible and clear. You really don't have to know anything about Monet to enjoy the story other than his obsession with painting water lilies. I thought that the revelation of what was happening and the ending were both very satisfying and well done.
I don't think that this book is quite as good as "After the Crash" and the reason for this is that the clever construction does make a few aspects of the book a little unlikely but I do recommend that you read this because it is very rewarding.