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(no English version so far!)
A morning in Provence. What was he supposed to do with this day? Probably the same as any other day. Albin fumbled a crumpled box of Gitanes out of his pocket and lit one as he walked. Like every morning. Tyson panted ahead of him, glancing around every now and then as if to make sure Albin was still following. …
A retired cop on his daily routine walk with his pug, which they had given him as a farewell present and christened Tyson, of all things. After Mike Tyson, the boxer, because the dog had such a flat nose. Others got an engraved wristwatch. He got a pug. “So that you have something to do and don’t get on our nerves any more,” they had said. They had a great time. Albin, who looked like a long Jean Gabin the size of a wardrobe. Plus the bow-legged, drooling beast whose face looked as if an elephant had been resting on it for three days. What a couple!
Well, they had given him something to do, that was true. The other thing, that didn’t quite work out – for what did a cop do who still had a score to settle and had to retire before his time? Catch up on the news, of course, and get on the nerves of his colleagues in the gendarmerie and the commissariat.
from: Tod in der Provence
Albin Leclerc is retired – and he is unhappy. The days are long, the days drag on like chewing gum. What is he supposed to do all day long?
For a start, there’s Tyson, the pug he has to look after. Tyson is the goodbye present from his colleagues. Every morning they make it to the café of Albin’s friend Matteo, who creates the best coffee ever in his visually unappealing café. In addition, various police officers and investigators regularly stop here so that Albin can keep up to date with criminal activities.
Albin is divorced; his wife lives in Paris … and so does his grown-up daughter and granddaughter. At first there is absolute silence between Albin and Paris. Albin has threatened his son-in-law when he saw that he had abused his daughter – but the daughter ignores this – she does not want to accept reality.
… and there is Véronique, the owner of the flower shop just opposite Matteo’s café, a widow with two grown-up daughters. In a nutshell: Albin and Véronique quickly become close. Veronique succeeds in getting Albin out of his sleepy life. She teaches him to cook and to take more care of his flat. She also introduces him to the world of social media … new smartphone, internet research, cosy evenings as a couple and with friends … Albin rediscovers the joys of life … and finally even the wedding bells ring.
One day Albin’s daughter rushes home from Paris with his granddaughter – she has left her husband after he has hit her badly again. An endless divorce mess begins. Albin helps his daughter where he can and takes care of his little granddaughter. (In addition to walking Tyson, he now has to take a little girl to kindergarten and pick her up). Albin’s days fill up – and he seems happy.
But is that all?
This cosy retired existence with girlfriend/wife and daughter/granddaughter as well as the rest of the patchwork family is like something out of a picture book. Everything would be fine … if it weren’t for the criminals. Despite all the beauty of Provence, the good food and even better wine, the new found family, there are crimes that do not let Albin rest.
His successor is Alain Theroux, a thoroughly capable homicide investigator who, however, always seems a little … lame and only too happy to brush Albin off. Then there is Cathérine Castel, a patrol officer … transferred from Marseille and demoted to uniform. She is a little more attached to Albin, but she also tries to keep her distance when it comes to criminal cases. Albin gets on both their nerves.
Theroux likes to handle his cases alone. Castel is transferred back to homicide because of her skills and successes, and with Albin’s support – but she too would prefer Albin to keep a low profile. But Albin can’t do that.
As soon as Albin learns that something has happened somewhere in his former area of responsibility – à la a body or several bodies are found, a person disappears in a suspicious manner, a robbery leaves bodies behind, etc. – he feels addressed and takes action, i.e. Albin and Tyson become active. Albin snoops around, talks to ex-colleagues, to forensics, to the pathologist – he knows everyone well from his active days. He also has no qualms about doing his own research and talking to witnesses. Thanks to his old police ID … which nobody looks at that closely …
In a nutshell: Albin is successful. He succeeds in solving the cases because he approaches the investigation rather unconventionally. Even for his old case, a series of disappeared resp. dead young women, a lead suddenly emerges. Albin finds the killer. Castel’s problems from her earlier life in Marseille are solved, which first leads to violence and more victims, but then it rehabilitates her.
After a few successful cases, Albin is officially allowed to call himself a police advisor, which motivates him even more to get involved.
Compared to the tranquil, homely private life Albin develops over the years, the crimes are quite treacherous and definitely have a national or even international component. There are serial offenders and terrorists, crimes going back to WWII, drug and human trafficking, attacks on the wine culture of southern France, vendettas by criminals … The cases are exciting and always provide a few surprises …
Albin manages it all. At his side is Tyson … Tyson, with whom Albin always has quiet conversations, because Tyson is an intelligent pug. The charm of the series – it wouldn’t be half as nice and interesting to read if it weren’t for Tyson.