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Author: Adrian Magson
Genre: Crime, Mystery & Thriller
Pub. Date: 21st May 2011
The first book in an intriguing new historical crime series.
France, 1963. Meet Inspector Lucas Rocco.
'Insubordinate bastard. And insolent. A good cop through. A bit nuts.'
Capt. Michel Santer, Clichy-Nanterre District
On his first day in the village of Poissons-Les-Marais, the last thing Inspector Lucas Rocco expects to find, in a British military cemetery, is the body of a murdered woman wearing a Gestapo officer’s uniform. When the murdered woman’s body is removed from the police mortuary on the authority of a Paris magistrate, Rocco traces the order back to the dead woman’s father, Philippe Bayer-Berbier, and realises that Berbier has something to hide.
Following an attempt on one villager’s life and the disappearance of another, Rocco uncovers how each is connected to Berbier, and at the risk of his own life must find out which of them could have been involved with the woman’s murder.
''A dark and accomplished thriller with a bold and charismatic detective, set against the convincing background of an insular French community.'Good Book Guide
' It's a pacy read and the 60s seting adds a quirky touch. 4 stars.'FrenchEntrée Magazine
'Stunning...striking...exceptionally difficult to put down...Death on the Marais is a slick and memorable thriller in which rural France and the discrepancies between official bureaucracy and real police work are laid bare. Terse writing, a very credible plot and fascinating characterisation make for a most entertaining reading experience. If you are looking for an intelligent and fast-paced read then this book marks the beginning of what will no doubt be an excellent series.'The Crime of it All
'The plot involves some unusual input and its originality draws you in, gripping to the last...Death on the Marais is a great read for its mystery, plot and introduction of a new series character that should become a biggie in the crime fiction world. Rocco rocks! And as my first introduction to Magson’s novels I have to say I am very impressed. I have not come across anyone else to take that angle on plotting...Sleep well dear reader; but perhaps not after reading this one.' (Also picked as Top Christmas Picks for 2011: 'In addition to some nasty people and goings on, we have some delicious humour and a perfectly evoked period.')It's a Crime (Or a Mystery!)
'This book [is] special...With the war still fresh in local memories, there is a menace that underlines the story from the beginning. Not an in-your-face menace, but menace that builds inexorably a structured sense of unease that keeps the pages turning...For me this was a delicious read. I had no urge to turn the page too quickly, because every sentence was so carefully crafted that I wanted to relish each one. Adrian has captured the essence of the time and the place so perfectly that I swear I could smell Gauloise on the air each time I picked the book up, almost to the point of expecting Inspector Maigret to turn up to discuss the case. But Rocco is no Maigret. He is edgier, harder. His own jungle war experiences have set him apart from others. A lone man, but not lonely, reliant on and confident in his own skills, he has an assuredness and honesty that you just know that whatever is thrown at him, he will win through...I don't often re-read books, but I've already read this one twice and I suspect the pages will become worn with continuous use in the future.'Mystery Women
'The village and its inhabitants rapidly come alive. Magson's supporting cast of characters are well-drawn... [and] the book has an authentic French feel about it...Magson skillfully draws the various threads of his story together in a very satisfactory manner. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next appearance of Lucas Rocco.'Reviewingtheevidence.com
'This is a very gritty, down to earth new detective, unusually based in a French provincial town...It is a sort of rebirth of a Maigret type detective for the 21st century but based in the 20th with a battered Citroen and other artefacts of that time. There is a real sense of action and melodramatic page-turning suspense until almost the last sentence. Fast moving and great entertainment - I look forward to reading more adventures of Lucas Rocco.'Eurocrime
'This first instalment of a planned series is a marvellous start...With rare panache, Magson weaves a complicated tale; simply told and very well written. A brilliant beginning...5 stars'Crimesquad.com
'This book is so much fun...Magson is an experienced writer in this genre, which shows in the sheer, slick enjoyability of the read. From the opening, I was happy to place myself in his hands and allow him to manipulate my imagination.'Historical Novels Review
'Taut and atmospheric - the fog that settles over the marsh land seeps into every corner of the narrative with its cold and faintly menacing presence. Magson has a spare and unfussy writing style that perfectly complements both the story and the location. Magson controls the pace of the story well and in Rocco he has a convincing and interesting protagonist.'Material Witness
'Brilliant - you just cannot put it down...The gloomy, somber, atmospheric landscape of Picardie is brilliantly evoked and characters really come to life through the pages of this story...Magson is clearly onto a winner with this series. 5 stars!'Monsters & Critics
'Reminiscent of Maigret, this book captures perfectly the rural atmosphere of France with nothing much changed since the end of the war. Rocco is a terrific character, taking everything in his stride, happy to go against the wishes of his superiors to get the results he wants, unafraid to tackle the French aristocracy to finally get at the truth. Littered with great characters and oodles of charm, this is a brilliant debut, a great read, and terrific fun. Excellent!'Booksmonthly.co.uk
'Rocco is a likeable character. I took to him straight away...The lovely contrast between city slick and basic, rural living is played up time and time again to good effect. And as is befitting of the novel's title, we visit the marais area quite a few times and Magson gives his readers a sense of the place - its beauty but also its eeriness...The reader is kept hanging till the very last moment for all of the pieces to fall into place and the crime solved. A few red herrings and then all is revealed. The ending is excellent.4-stars'The Bookbag
Tremendous opening and the story builds thereafter into a wonderful crime thriller, At last a modern author to succeed Georges Simenon's gentle french detective fiction. Descriptive writing at its best setting the mood, a sense of place and giving life to a range of genuine local characters. Re-located from the City to a rural location our hero Lucas Rocco finds thrills and danger he may have expected to leave behind him in Paris. This is a classic in the making from an author who understands his craft and delivers more than any reader could ask or expect. One of the best books I have read where a new series of crime stories is begun and I can not wait just for the sequel but hope these stories last throughout this decade and Rocco is spoken of and compared with the likes of Maigret, Rebus and Wallander.Richard Latham, Burton on Trent