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Chilling Crime Fiction & Mystery Novels

Take a turn with us, and the weather, into the dark cloud-covered corners of mystery fiction. In continuation of International Crime Month (founded two years ago by Europa Editions, Akashic Books, Melville House, and Grove Atlantic) and in the same playful spirit of their tagline: “International Crime: much better than ‘wimpy paperbacks with sunshiney covers”, we offer you this list of grim and gripping French titles.

Have Mercy on Us All by Fred Vargas (Vintage, 2004)Three times a day in a Parisian square, a curious modern-day crier announces the news items that are left in his box. He receives a number of disturbing messages referring to the Black Death. Strange symbols, once used to ward off the plague, on the doors of several buildings and flea-bitten corpses start to appear. Panic sets in.

The Truth About the Harry Québert  Affair by Joël Dicker (Penguin, 2014)The novel is set in a coastal New Hampshire town. The protagonist, Marcus Goldman, is a successful young novelist who needs inspiration for his next book. When his former college professor and mentor is accused of a murder that occurred 33 years earlier, Marcus heads to New Hampshire to solve the mystery. The result of his investigation becomes his next book.

The Yellow Dog by Georges Simenon (Penguin, 2014)In the coastal town of Concarneau, a local wine merchant is shot. Inspector Maigret soon realizes that Emma, a downtrodden waitress, is hiding something and that the mysterious yellow dog lurking around town may be the key to solving this crime.

  • Too hot, too cold, too angry, too quiet, too busy, too lonely? We have the solutions here! Fun, fear and passion await. Each week, we will post thematic lists of great titles so you can let your bookworming desires run wild. Follow us on Twitter @FrenchBooksUSA and Instagram