Monday, 22 June 2020

Le Cadavre dans le placard by Mary Higgins Clark

Le Cadavre dans le placard by Mary Higgins Clark
First published in English as The Body In The Closet in 1990. French language translation by Anne Damour published in the anthology Crimes passionels by Editions Albin Michel in 1997 and in this single story Elle promotional edition in 1997.

How I got this book:
Swapped for at a Little Library

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The strangled body of a Broadway actress is found in a Central Park apartment owned by Alvirah Meehan, a former cleaning woman who purchased the apartment after winning a $40 million lottery. Alvirah gets involved in the investigation of the death of the actress Fiona Winters murdered in her own closet.

Reading Marek Kohn's new exploration of bilingualism, Four Words For Friend, recently has refreshed my enthusiasm for improving my French and I thought this Mary Higgins Clark crime novella would be the best of the French language books I have awaiting me to start with. It's just 71 pages long and, once I'd got my eye back in on the verb conjugations, was an entertaining little read.

The premise is that a body is found in a wardrobe and, of our cast of eight, half are potential suspects. Fortunately Alvirah, the owner of the wardrobe, as well as being a newly minted multi-millionaire, is an amateur sleuth who is only too eager to beat the police to a conclusion, especially one which gets her unfortunate nephew off the hook. Clark doesn't go much in for characterisation or character development, preferring descriptions of expensive furniture instead, and the mystery itself was formulaic enough that even I had managed to work out the culprit before the penny dropped for Alvirah. That said, the story did have some neat ideas and enough suitably diverting red herrings to maintain my interest.

I also learned that coqueluche means 'whooping cough' and, in the combination of la coqueluche de ... the word means 'the darling of' (as in 'this architect was the coqueluche of all Manhattan'). I can't wait to shoehorn that gem into everyday conversation!

Etsy Find!
by Dave Woodman Art in
the USA

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Books by Mary Higgins Clark / Novellas / Books from America

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