The Stranger in the Seine by Guillaume Musso – Review

The Stranger in the Seine by Guillaume Musso Review (2)

By Dominic Picksley

Author Guillaume Musso was a new name for me, but I was intrigued by the ‘simply breathtaking’ and ‘a phenomenon’ buzzwords on the back cover, allied to the fact this French writer is, apparently, ‘one of the greatest thriller writers of our age’.

The title of the book refers to a presumed dead woman found alive in the River Seine who then goes missing. And then it’s revealed that she’s a famous pianist, thanks to some DNA analysis. That all sounds either totally intriguing or completely bonkers and the end result was a bit of both.

At the heart of it all is a veteran police detective Roxane Montchrestien and, like many thrillers, she’s a down-on-her-luck cop who needs a break and attempts to get to the bottom of the mystery of the disappearing woman, who is supposed to be dead. She receives assistance from the pianist’s finance as the two sleuths try to get to to the bottom of the matter.

There seems to be this thing nowadays of concentrating too much on the personal life of the main cop involved – I blame Cagney & Lacey back in the 1980s – when sometimes you’d rather attention be focused to the mystery and not the problems of said cop.

The Stranger in the Seine by Guillaume Musso Review (1)“Convoluted”

Bizarrely, though, a lot of the plot focuses in on Greek mythology, particularly Dionysus (god of fertility), and human sacrifices. No, honestly. Sadly, the writer went into far too much depth about this subject – pages and pages of the stuff – which I imagine would turn a lot of people off.

The story gets a bit convoluted around this time and you do wonder where Musso is going with it. It’s like he’s trying too hard at times to come up with something different and it all seems a little too far-fetched.

I realise it’s a work of fiction where anything can happen, but sometimes it does need to have a ring of plausibility about it.

And he doesn’t help by leaving readers – those stamina-laden ones who have managed to make it to the end – hanging as he doesn’t really come up with a satisfactory conclusion, leaving us to ponder what exactly the outcome was.

‘The Stranger in the Seine’ by Guillaume Musso is published by Orion


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