The 10.30 from Marseille by Sebastien Japrisot(link is external) - Souvenir (1964), Unknown Binding, 181 pages
tags: Crime [Our New Books - LibraryThing(link is external)]
By pure chance I picked up two books by this author recently because, well I guess the titles appealed but the blurbs sounded intriguing.
"The woman was stretched out diagonally across the lowest of the three berths on the right. She was a young brunette, rather tall and thin and quite pretty. The traces of strangulation could be seen on her neck just at the opening of her shirt. Her murderer could only have struck in the brief interval between the departure of the other passengers from the compartment and the arrival of the cleaners on the train. This apparently motiveless murder is followed by a series of ruthless killings. The only thing they have in common is that all the victims travelled north that previous night in carriage IV of the 10.30 train from Marseille."
Using a style which seems to pay homage to a lot of the classic hard boiled crime fiction doyens, Japrisot has a cast of characters led by yet another grumpy, slightly erratice central detective. Grazzi leads his team in an investigation which is part hard, slow slog and part inspiration - with the killer seemingly always just one step ahead of Grazzi.
I hope Simenon would be proud to have seen a writer that seems to have followed in his footsteps with some aplomb. There's something very similar between his style and his characters and this, the first in what I hope continues to be a series of engaging and entertaining little books.
Pierre Emile Grazziano, nicknamed Grazzi, has a case on his hands. In one of the berths aboard the 10.30 from Marseilles, a beautiful young woman lies brutally murdered. And it is not long before the killer strikes again. With a ramshackle police force at his disposal, Grazzi must track down this serial murderer before more witnessess and civilians meet their end. But this is easier said than done. Set in a Paris packed with criminality, lust and glamour, Japrisot takes us on a whirlwind journey of intrigue, darkness, and blistering suspense.