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He could always listen to Brassens. When he was stressed, he liked to start his day with Brassens. He could immerse himself in the sounds of the guitar. Isolate himself and still think. Untroubled by everything that surrounded him. He heard neither Lilly screaming nor Matteo calling, and he only saw Hélène acting as if behind a pane of frosted glass. Until one day Hélène took a Brassens record he was listening to off the record player and broke it. I can’t go on, she said. Go!
The only things he had plugged in so far were his stereo and the television. The record player for his vinyl records was also already there and his LPs took up several metres of space. Finally he had space for it. Despite, or perhaps because of, his lack of music, he needed music. He enjoyed the fact that he could turn up the stereo in this house without neighbours banging on the ceiling. Music must be heard loudly, was his view. …
He chose a clean pair of jeans, reached for the leather jacket, but hesitated. First day, after all. A murder in the palace. Again he looked at himself in the mirror. He knew that the reddish curls gave him something wild and boyish. Women always wanted to run their hands through his curly hair, no matter how short he wore it. Today, however, he wanted to look more serious. He took the jacket out of the wardrobe. Here we go, he said to his reflection in the mirror. New city, new job, new luck.
from: Mörderische Côte d’Azur
A Big Boy on his Way to Justice
Léon Duval makes a new start in Cannes. In Paris, he leaves behind his wife and two children – and the events during an operation against a wanted criminal that led to the death of a colleague and friend. The feelings of guilt, however, travel with him to the south.
Duval encounters complex social structures in Cannes, from which those in charge from the administration, the police, the public prosecutor’s office and also the investigating judges always look first to the media and their reporting, unless they are already slowed down by political pressure or steered in certain directions. Cannes is a jewel of the tourism industry, an international hotspot of the film industry, home to celebrities … No bad press should disturb or even affect this idyll and source of money on the Côte d’Azur. Nothing must deter tourists.
Moreover, there are crime cases in Cannes and on the Côte d’Azur just like in the rest of France, there are the same perpetrators and involvements in criminal gangs or clans. So there is plenty work for Monsieur le Commissaire Léon Duval.
Duval is not a team player, but a loner who thinks for himself and often acts on gut instinct. Of course he has staff, but he likes to keep them busy with research tasks and lengthy interviews. Basically, it’s him who penetrates the case and finally solves it based on experience and snippets of knowledge. It is always more complex than it first appears …
In the process, Duval usually gets in the way of his superiors, the public prosecutor and the examining magistrate. Duval avoids these obstacles again and again and in the end he finds the culprit. However, this does not always mean that the guilty party is also … Duval lives in Cannes and has to play by the rules of Cannes and the Côte d’Azur – even if it goes against his feeling.
His cases deal with child abuse and jealousy dramas, illegal immigration and Islamist groups, gang wars, theft, drug dealing … It is a mixture that is characteristic of today and the regional background. Along the way, the reader always learns something about current social problems, especially if they are initiated by recent history …
In Cannes, Duval encounters his past. He lives in a large house that he inherited from his father – after a court settlement with his stepbrother. Duval does not seem to be very happy with his family. His father had never seen him as a policeman, and neither had his mother; they both rather had a doctor, a lawyer or something in mind. Now Duval lives in his parents’ house and comes to terms with everything – a little.
Things get difficult for him when he learns that his father was very closely involved with a criminal in Cannes, an influential criminal who will walk over corpses if he has to. Gradually he discovers the truth and is not happy with it, but it is the past and Duval tries not to let it affect him in the present.
Duval, of course, also finds a new partner, a journalist of all things, a would-be investigative journalist at that, who smells injustice and conspiracy everywhere. For a detective superintendent working on critical cases, this liaison is not always easy. But the two become closer and closer – and finally Duval has to come to terms with the idea that he will become a father once again, which doesn’t exactly delight him at first.
For Duval, his job always comes first. He drops everything, forgets all commitments and meetings when working on a case. His new journalist partner also struggles with this work ethic, which caused his marriage in Paris to fail. Duval’s charm is often not enough …
In short: Duval is a workaholic when he wants to solve a murder, but you can have a lot of fun with him when he also wants to enjoy his free time. Is he a partner for life?