Author(s): Anna Jaquiery
At night Armand lay in bed with a sadness in his heart that ballooned until there was room for nothing else. He thought with horror of the lying-down room ...Paris; in the stifling August heat, Commandant Serge Morel is called to a disturbing crime scene. An elderly woman has been murdered to the soundtrack of Faure's Requiem, her body then grotesquely displayed. At first this strange case seems to offer few clues; and Morel has problems of his own. His father - always a great force in his life - is beginning to succumb to senility; and he is unsettled by the reappearance of the beautiful Mathilde, the woman he once loved. Only origami can help calm the detective and focus his thoughts on this troubling crime. As the investigation progresses, the key suspects to emerge are a middle-aged man and a mute teenage boy who have been delivering religious pamphlets in the city's suburbs. But as more elderly ladies are targeted, Morel will find his enquiries leading him back into the past, from the French countryside to Soviet Russia - and to two young boys with the most terrible of stories to tell ...An evocative, gripping crime novel with an aching heart: The Lying-Down Room is the stunning first novel in Anna Jaquiery's Commandant Morel series; perfect for fans of Michael Dibdin and Donna Leon.
Anna Jaquiery's elegant, beguiling and beautifully crafted debut left me longing for more from her enigmatic Parisian detective, Commandant Serge Morel. A rare and delicate treat from a writer already in total command of her craft. M. R. Hall, author of the Coroner Jenny Cooper series A terrific book you will read with a creeping sense of dread. Malcolm Mackay, author of The Glasgow Trilogy A psychological novel, more Vine than Rendell, but at heart it is a feverish love story imbued with horror. Shots magazine This stunning debut from a Melbourne-based author promises to be the first in a series involving Inspector Serge Morel. In Paris, in stifling August heat, the Commandant is called to a disturbing crime scene, the key suspects initially being a middle-aged man and a mute teenage boy who have been delivering religious pamphlets in the city's suburbs. Daily Examiner Morel is a Parisian detective, a flawed man dealing with his father's senility, his own fecklessness in love, as well as his sometimes irascible attitude to his motley team of investigators ... The Lying Down Room is enigmatic and quirky, with a strong current of submerged horror. Sydney Morning Herald Morel is a very carefully constructed and wonderfully realised character. He combines natural charm and humour that immediately resonate. His interactions in both his professional and personal lives allow the many different facets of his character to shine - like the focused and dedicated police officer, and the man thwarted in love. There are some intensely moving scenes between him and his father. This relationship is filled with pathos, adding poignancy to Morel's situation. Morel is a man of contradictions with his character being all the more emotionally interesting for it, and consequently the scene is set for further exploration of this detective. The narrative is particularly impressive, with nice, clean delineation between the various strands that come into play within the plot. Not only is the central murder storyline well paced and realistic, but as Jaquiery expands the story to encompass the personal narratives of the perpetrators themselves, she weaves together various locations and timelines. What emerges is an incredibly human tale of lost opportunities and wicked twists of fate that can put an individual on the path towards murder. Cleverly, this aspect of the novel invokes natural sympathy in the reader as we bear witness to the incredibly sad events in our antagonists' pasts, evinced in the stark portrayal of life in Soviet Russia, and the mental and physical wounds this produces. At times, Jaquiery handles the sheer emotional heartache of some of these scenes more in the vein of literary fiction rather than a genre crime novel. There is little to fault in this debut, combining as it does a superbly plotted and emotive criminal investigation with the introduction of a police protagonist more than imbued with enough charm and interest to carry the weight of a series. Anna Jaquiery demonstrates all the natural flair and quirks of French crime fiction that fans of Vargas, Lemaitre, et al, will relish reading. Raven Crime Reads
Anna Jaquiery is of French-Malaysian descent and grew up in Europe and Asia. She has worked as a journalist in several countries, starting out as a freelance reporter in Russia. She is currently based in Melbourne with her husband and two sons. The Lying-Down Room is her debut novel - and the first in a series to feature Commandant Serge Morel.