Pierre Magnan The Murdered House: A Mystery

ISBN 13: 9780312367213

The Murdered House: A Mystery

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9780312367213: The Murdered House: A Mystery
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From one of Frances's leading crime writers, whose The Messengers of Death was named a Publishers Weekly Best Mystery of 2008, comes this exceptional classic mystery which was once singled out as being France's Best Novel of the Year

At the turn of the century, in a remote inn in Upper Provence, a family is violently massacred. The sole survivor of the tragedy is a three-week-old baby.

In 1920, the orphaned survivor, Seraphin Monge, returns home to avenge his family's killers. But for each murder he plots, another hand silently executes it in his place. He wins the hearts of both Marie and Rose, and romantic complications ensue. But then unexpected secrets set in motion a dreadful unveiling of the past. . . .

A novel of terrifying intensity, The Murdered House will secure Magnan's place on every mystery aficionado's shelf.

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Review:

The murdered house in the title of Pierre Magnan's intense novel--set in rural Provence in 1920--is at once historical, actual, and metaphorical. Scarred by war, France is a house without sons; only women, children, and old men toil in Magnan's fields. When Séraphin Monge returns to his native village after fighting in the trenches, he learns at last the truth of his origins: his family was brutally slaughtered in a remote inn in 1896; Séraphin, then a 3-week-old baby, was the only survivor. Haunted by visions of his dead mother, he is determined to avenge her murder, but he must first try to free himself from his past. He decides to destroy, stick by stick and stone by stone, the ancient house in which his entire family died. But, as Magnan observes tellingly, "Burning furniture that has a history is no easy matter."

In destroying the house, Séraphin discovers evidence that seems to hint at the murderers' identity; yet The Murdered House is not a whodunit, even though a mysterious figure seems to be shadowing Séraphin and there are unexplained deaths, gold coins, and legal documents.

The discovery of the murderers is not the aim of the book (indeed, when Magnan strays into the realm of traditional mystery, it seems half-hearted at best). Instead, Magnan is intent on sketching the worlds, both internal and external, of individuals and places haunted by the horrors of World War I. His rendering of daily Provençal life hints at the tenacity with which a generation clings to the traditions of its forebears; he writes of the annual olive-pressing:

They would have drunk it as it came out of the shallow baskets, if they had been allowed. They caught it in their measuring vessels and let it flow into their wicker-covered bottles. As soon as the demijohns were full, two people rushed them to the barrows and carts. The child formed a rear guard defending their retreat; the grandfather stayed with the bottles yet to be filled, watching with an eagle eye, as though the miller were a thief, as though all the neighbours and friends who were waiting their turn were capable of pilfering a demijohn or two.

Though the translator has done a solid job of rendering Magnan's descriptive prose--almost poetry-like in its intensity and ellipsis--the dialogue is at times dissonant, since Magnan relies on the rhythms and vocabulary of the old Provençal dialect, whose subtleties are almost impossible to evoke in English without sounding stilted. Not until the last few pages does the book itself genuinely falter; Magnan's last-minute revelation of a first-person narrator wants to be a clever post-modern trick, but it falls emphatically flat. It's easy to forgive a few pages' transgression, though, when one has already digested a challenging, evocative novel. --Kelly Flynn

From the Inside Flap:

Seraphin Monge begins a quiet march of revenge against his family?s killers. But for each murder he plots, another hand silently executes it in his place. In this gripping thriller set in Upper Provence, unexpected secrets set in motion a dreadful unveiling of the past.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781860466496: The Murdered House

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1860466494 ISBN 13:  9781860466496
Publisher: Harvill Press, 2000
Hardcover

9781408478448: Murdered House

Chivers, 2010
Hardcover

9781860466502: The murdered house

The Ha..., 1999
Softcover

9781410424235: The Murdered House (Thorndike Reviewers' Choice)

Thornd..., 2010
Hardcover

9780099448723: The Murdered House

Vintag..., 2003
Softcover

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Book Description Thomas Dunne Books, 2010. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. From one of Frances s leading crime writers, whose The Messengers of Death was named a Publishers Weekly Best Mystery of 2008, comes this exceptional classic mystery which was once singled out as being France s Best Novel of the Year At the turn of the century, in a remote inn in Upper Provence, a family is violently massacred. The sole survivor of the tragedy is a three-week-old baby. In 1920, the orphaned survivor, Seraphin Monge, returns home to avenge his family s killers. But for each murder he plots, another hand silently executes it in his place. He wins the hearts of both Marie and Rose, and romantic complications ensue. But then unexpected secrets set in motion a dreadful unveiling of the past. . . . A novel of terrifying intensity, The Murdered House will secure Magnan s place on every mystery aficionado s shelf. Seller Inventory # APC9780312367213

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Book Description Thomas Dunne Books, 2010. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.From one of Frances s leading crime writers, whose The Messengers of Death was named a Publishers Weekly Best Mystery of 2008, comes this exceptional classic mystery which was once singled out as being France s Best Novel of the Year At the turn of the century, in a remote inn in Upper Provence, a family is violently massacred. The sole survivor of the tragedy is a three-week-old baby. In 1920, the orphaned survivor, Seraphin Monge, returns home to avenge his family s killers. But for each murder he plots, another hand silently executes it in his place. He wins the hearts of both Marie and Rose, and romantic complications ensue. But then unexpected secrets set in motion a dreadful unveiling of the past. . . . A novel of terrifying intensity, The Murdered House will secure Magnan s place on every mystery aficionado s shelf. Seller Inventory # APC9780312367213

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Book Description Minotaur Books. Paperback. Condition: New. 256 pages. Dimensions: 8.2in. x 5.4in. x 0.4in.From one of Francess leading crime writers, whose The Messengers of Death was nameda Publishers Weekly BestMystery of 2008, comes this exceptional classic mystery which was once singled out as being Frances Best Novel of the YearAt the turn of the century, in a remote inn in Upper Provence, a family is violently massacred. The sole survivor of the tragedy is a three-week-old baby. In 1920, the orphaned survivor, Seraphin Monge, returns home to avenge his familys killers. But for each murder he plots, another hand silently executes it in his place. He wins the hearts of both Marie and Rose, and romantic complications ensue. But then unexpected secrets set in motion a dreadful unveiling of the past. . . . A novel of terrifying intensity, The Murdered House will secure Magnans place on every mystery aficionados shelf. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780312367213

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