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Crime thriller set on the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec

12th October 2020

The Coral Bride by Roxanne Bouchard, crime thriller set on the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec – translated by David Warriner.

Crime thriller set on the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec

The Coral Bride is Roxanne Bouchard’s second crime thriller set on the Gaspé Peninsula at the mouth of the Saint Lawrence river. I had read, and much enjoyed, the first – We Were the Salt of the Sea – and was really looking forward to the second. I was in no way disappointed.

The book is a very well thought through and well-constructed story of murder. A young female fishing boat captain is found floating in the ocean. She had taken her boat out in the middle of the night after a party to celebrate her tenth wedding anniversary. She was dressed (as she was every year on her anniversary) in her wedding dress. She ended up dead in the water. Her death was made to look like suicide. Inspector Morales investigates in the close knit community, where family feuds go back generations – and everyone is tight lipped. It is not an easy or quick task. But little by little the truth comes out.

The book is primarily a very well-constructed crime mystery, but it is a great deal more. It is a love ode from Roxanne to the sea and the people who earn their living from it. Her descriptions of the sea in all its different moods are mesmerising:

Landlubbers rattle on about the moon on the water being a glimmering silver road or a rolling carpet bejewelled with thousands of sequins. ‘They’re a bunch of romantics,’ her mother scoffed. ‘There’s no road and no silvering the reflections the moon casts on the sea. Try to touch them and they’ll slip through your fingers, you’ll see. The moon is a liar and the sea is a liar’.

The Gaspé peninsula sounds a brilliant place to visit. It takes 13 hours to drive around – but most visitors spread their trip over a week. Wild and rugged – the sea almost always in view. Hard working fishermen who earn their living in the harshest of environments. Pretty coastal villages. But more hospitable, I would guess, in summer rather than in winter.

And finally a shout out for David Warriner, the translator. The English words above describing the sea are his – quite beautifully translated (as is the whole book) from Roxanne’s original French.

Highly recommended.

Tony for the TripFiction team

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  1. User: Yvonne@FictionBooks

    Posted on: 15/10/2020 at 9:05 am

    A lovely, thoughtful review, Tony.

    I have read books translated into English from German and Norwegian originals, but never anything translated from French – until now!

    I am off to add this one to my list. I do enjoy a good crime thriller!



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