Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Casanova and the Faceless Woman by Olivier Barde-Cabucon

Paperback: 380 pages.                                                                                                 
Genre: Historical Thriller
Publisher: Pushkin Press March 2019 ( First published as 'Casanova et la femme sans visage' in 2012
Source: The publishers in return for an unbiased and honest review.
First Sentence: Night swarmed through the streets of Paris, casting its black veil over the carriage standing motionless in the middle of the deserted thoroughfare.
Favourite Quote: 'Truly, there is entertainment in everything!'
Review Quote: 'A splendid mystery with an appealingly enigmatic protagonist, plenty of melodrama and intrigue, and a vivid, pungent evocation of a turbulent time' -- Guardian
Main Characters: Volnay, (The Inspector of Strange and Unexplained Deaths) and Giacomo Casanova.
Setting: Paris, France.
Literary Awards: Prix Sang d'Encre for Crime Fiction in 2012
My Opinion: Not a novel I would have chosen to read had I not been given the opportunity to read and review by Pushkin Press. However I have very eclectic tastes and like to be pushed outside of my comfort zone, in this case I found it worthwhile. Set in and around Paris in 1759, there is lots of excitement to keep the reader interested with conspiracy and spies around every corner as Volnay does his utmost to solve this case in his position as The Inspector of Strange and Unexplained Deaths. A position that is not popular with the Paris police chief as he reports directly to the King, despite once being a rebel himself.  A quality read, the author and translator have produced a very descriptive period thriller.
This is the first in a series to be translated from the French by Louise Lalaurie Rogers for Olivier Barde-Cabouchon. I believe more of his novels will be translated if his writing proves to be popular with English readers of this genre.
Certainly to be recommended for fans of historical thrillers looking for new authors to read.

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

A chilling mystery set amidst the glamour and squalor of pre-Revolutionary Paris

1759: Outside the gates of the magnificent Versailles palace, the city of Paris sits mired in squalor and crime. One night a young woman's body is found with ghastly mutilations that shock onlookers to the core.

The Inspector of Strange and Unexplained Deaths begins investigating this macabre outrage, but the clues he uncovers draw him into a deadly web of intrigue, and bring him face-to-face with notorious adventurer and seducer, Giacomo Casanova.

As a second butchered corpse is discovered, the Inspector finds his life in grave danger and his revolutionary past exposed. Can he navigate between the factions secretly warring for power and find a way to the truth?

Author Profile: 

Olivier Barde-Cabuçon is a French author and the creator of The Inspector of Strange and Unexplained Deaths, who has featured in seven bestselling historical mysteries so far. Casanova and the Faceless Woman won the Prix Sang d'Encre for crime fiction in 2012 and is the first of the series to be translated into English.

Photographs and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Goodreads - Author Page     Translator - Louise Lalaurie Rogers   Amazon Author Page

Olivier Barde-Cabucon - Facebook Page

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