detective inspector sandrine perrot from saint-malo

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(no English version of the novels so far!)

Returning to her job was not an option for her. She had already written her resignation weeks ago. Since moving to Brittany, the letter had been lying in a stamped envelope on the kitchen shelf, waiting to be dropped into the letterbox. Sometime in the next few days she would stop by the post office, she resolved. Some people would be relieved to get rid of her this way, and she was reluctant to make it so easy for her superiors in Paris. …
“Lieutenant Perrot?”
Sandrine opened her eyes. …
“Commissaire Matisse of the Police Nationale office in Saint-Malo sent me. You’re needed and you couldn’t be reached by phone. They’ve been looking for you for a while.” …
“How bad is it?” she asked Bertrand.
“Philippe threw up.”
She had no idea who Philippe was, but surely there was a sufficient reason for his sudden nausea.
“It’s his first corpse,” the policeman followed up, almost as an apology for his sensitive colleague, and confirmed her assumption.
Sandrine doubted that Bertrand himself had seen more than a handful of victims of death or drowning. Capital crimes were as rare here as snow at Christmas.

from: Die Tote auf dem Zöllnerweg (my translation)

Time and again family stories and the vexed issue of money

Sandrine Perrot is in her mid-thirties when she decides to leave her job at the Police Nationale and … do what?

She is a talented investigator, has made a career in Paris and is already a Capitaine, that is, she was a Capitaine. Animated by the idea of solving a crime – convicting a serial ripper, she has broken into the suspect’s house to look for evidence. She had already been taken off the case because the suspect is an influential figure with connections of every kind. Too bad: she got caught by him. A demotion and a provisional leave of absence followed.

Sandrine retired to Brittany. In Cancale, she inherited a house from her aunt, where she took shelter. She lives in the day, takes photographs, jogs, practices kickboxing … rides a motorbike, brings the old 2CV from her inheritance back to life …

Then one morning she is unexpectedly called in by the Police Nationale in Saint-Malo to investigate a murder case. The commissioner in charge revokes her leave of absence and lets her investigate. There are actually no murder cases in Saint-Malo and the surrounding area – and he has decided that, despite all the complications with the authorities in Paris, Sandrine is the best solution for the investigation. Of course, Sandrine solves the case, but she still wants to quit. However, this means that she has to work in Saint-Malo for another three months because of the notice period.

All’s well that ends well: the next murder happens … Sandrine investigates again and solves the case – and finally she stays with the Police Nationale in Saint-Malo.

Being a policewoman, doing investigative work is in her blood. She has thought long and hard about what else she should do, but has not found a solution. So the professional situation is basically settled.

Sandrine broke in … How did she do it? She comes from a family of criminals for whom burglaries, opening safes, art forgeries … are the order of the day. She learned burglary from scratch as a teenager – in practice (!) – and still benefits from it now and then. Her family was horrified to learn that Sandrine was considering a career in the police force.

In Saint-Malo, Sandrine is repeatedly confronted with murder cases. The events in the previous novels follow each other directly: Sandrine hardly has time to catch her breath. So much for the tranquil Saint-Malo and the area around it, where there are supposedly no violent crimes.

The cases are convoluted, there are many clues to possible perpetrators and motives – but finally the solution is found. Sandrine always goes to the extreme, gets involved, digs deeper and deeper … analyses details, looks for connections, even if it seems absurd at first … She gives her all – and of course, despite her fitness, becomes a victim every now and then, lighter or more seriously wounded, when she suddenly gets too close to a perpetrator.

All’s well that ends well?

Quite quickly she has gathered a circle of colleagues and friends around her, with whom she gets along and who like her and help her whenever it is necessary. She has a partner, Adel Azarou, Brigadier Chef de Police, who is eager to learn from her and at the same time is always fastidiously modern and nobly dressed. She can also always count on Inès, the good soul in the office who knows all the administrative tricks.

Her tenant, who occupies the main house while Sandrine lives in a converted, modernised barn, is a successful crime writer and cook. Sandrine never actually cooks: her fridge is always empty. She also finds connections in her kickboxing club … and with her neighbours.

She even meets an interesting man, Léon, with whom she slowly falls in love. It’s hard for her.

All’s well that ends well?

Everything would be fine in Saint-Malo, in the French province, if it weren’t for that prosecutor from Paris … In Paris, he was responsible for the demotion – and for the fact that the suspect was not prosecuted further. He likes to interfere in cases set in faraway Brittany and tries to make life difficult for Sandrine. Eventually, he even gets himself transferred to Saint-Malo as an examining magistrate … and suddenly Sandrine’s friend Léon is suspected of drug trafficking. It soon turns out that the evidence was planted on him, but …

The question remains open as to what the Paris prosecutor is actually concerned about … The Paris case is also still lurking in the background … I am sure there will be sequels that …

Sandrine Perrot is a very perfect woman and policewoman – a little more rough edges wouldn’t hurt.

The crime novels are comfort food for crime lovers: a beautiful region, many mysteries, many clues … an interesting solution at the end of each novel.

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a faint cold fear thrills through my veins ... william shakespeare