Murderous Mistral, by Cay Rademacher (2015, 2017)

Mystery
Adult
Murderous Mistral, by Cay RademacherParisian gendarme Capitaine Roger Blanc has just completed a sweeping corruption investigation that resulted in several high-profile arrests, but also led to his being banished to Provence. It’s a punishment for being a bit too successful in a society where political lives are built on back-scratching and favours. To make matters worse for our hero, his wife announces she is staying in Paris. With her lover. Newly single, Roger heads to Sainte-Françoise-la-Vallée, nearly 1000 kms south of Paris. His new commandant is a rising star who is not happy to have a corruption expert sent to his stable of officers, and he assigns the Capitaine to a corner space with an ancient computer and a lethargic partner who enjoys long lunches with bottles of rosé. Their first case is a murder, when the charred and bullet-riddled body of a local miscreant is found at the dump. Principled and driven, Roger investigates thoroughly, raising the ire of local bigwigs and his own boss. Along the way, he copes with the summer mistral wind, discovers a gem of a colleague, meets neighbours both welcoming and annoying, and uncovers corruption and scandal that may or may not have anything to do with the case. Originally published in German, the English edition is capably translated by Peter Millar, using descriptive language that evokes the beauty of the Provençal setting as well as the cultural quirks of the south of France, giving it an exotic air. The procedural-type plot is well developed, with lots of clues and evidence to help alert readers determine the murderer’s identity and motive. I really like this detective, who reminds me of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache. There is the same dedication to excellence combined with a rather wry view of human nature. Thoroughly enjoyable. There are already more titles in the series but they are not yet translated; I look forward to reading more. My thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the advance reading copy provided through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33602127
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