Published by Mantle
Publication date: 9 April 2015
Source: review copy
“Phnom Penh, Cambodia; the rainy season. When a French man, Hugo Quercy, is found brutally murdered, Commandant Serge Morel finds his holiday drawn to an abrupt halt. Quercy – dynamic, well-connected – was the magnetic head of a humanitarian organisation which looked after the area’s neglected youth.
Opening his investigation, the Parisian detective soon finds himself buried in one of his most challenging cases yet. Morel must navigate this complex and politically sensitive crime in a country with few forensic resources, and armed with little more than a series of perplexing questions: what was Quercy doing in a hotel room under a false name? What is the significance of his recent investigations into land grabs in the area? And who could have broken into his home the night of the murder?
Becoming increasingly drawn into Quercy’s circle of family and friends – his adoring widow, his devoted friends and bereft colleagues – Commandant Morel will soon discover that in this lush land of great beauty and immense darkness, nothing is quite as it seems . . .
A deeply atmospheric crime novel that bristles with truth and deception, secrets and lies: Death in the Rainy Season is a compelling mystery that unravels an exquisitely wrought human tragedy.”
4 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the publisher and this is my honest review.
Commandant Serge Morel, usually entrenched in Paris, finds himself torn away from his holiday in Cambodia. Travelling to Phnom Penh on the orders of his boss, Morel finds himself investigating the murder of a French citizen. With pressure from on high and little assistance from the local police, Morel soon finds himself caught up in a mystery he may not be able to solve.
This is the second novel to feature Serge Morel, following on from Anna Jaquiery’s debut The Lying Down Room. This time we see Morel away from his team in Paris, the team who rounded out the story and made it a great ensemble piece. However, don’t think that I enjoyed this book any less because Morel was flying solo on this investigation. In fact there are enough appearances of colleagues to keep them fresh in the reader’s memory I loved this book as much as the first.
I soon found myself transported to Cambodia. I could easily imagine Morel walking round the streets, sweltering in the humidity and hiding away from the monsoon rains.
Anna Jaquiery’s writing draws you in. It has the ability to wrap you up in the story, drowning out the real world. This isn’t an easy task but is carried out with aplomb.
Death in the Rainy Season provides the reader with the opportunity to get to know Morel even more, rounding out his character to a greater degree. We find out more about his family, this time focussing more on his deceased mother, who was from Cambodia. It was good to see more of Morel on his own, developing his character away from home but also somewhere he is linked.
The mystery is engaging. Morel is baffled as to why the dead man was murdered in a hotel room under a different name and has to deal with both suspects and the police holding back information. There were enough red herrings to keep me guessing until very near the dénouement and I enjoyed piecing together the mystery.
Anna Jaquiery has joined the ranks of the authors whose books I eagerly await. Morel is well on his way of becoming a favourite detective and I am impatiently waiting for his next investigation.