cover image Crimes of Winter: Variations on Adultery and Venial Sins

Crimes of Winter: Variations on Adultery and Venial Sins

Philippe Georget, trans. from the French by Steven Rendall. Europa, $18 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-1-60945-389-3

At the start of French author Georget’s engaging if sometimes discursive third mystery featuring Insp. Gilles Sebag (after 2014’s Autumn, All the Cats Return), the Perpignan policeman catches his wife in a lie. She claims she went to her gym class at noon, but he knows she didn’t because he stopped by the gym to invite her to lunch afterward and she wasn’t there. After his suspicions about his wife’s infidelity are painfully confirmed, Sebag grapples with a series of crimes that all stem from adultery, from murder to a harrowing episode involving a wronged husband and enough gasoline to burn down a residential block. It becomes clear that a common source has alerted—and aggravated—the cuckolded perpetrators. The depressed, diminished detective lets his colleagues pick up other threads of the case as the novel explores the lives of the supporting characters, offers ruminations on marriage and family, and details the many wine selections made with meals. The resolution is multilayered and satisfying, minus the storybook happiness. (May)