This novel gets off to a galloping pace from the very first page. The character of Samson Bonneau is well defined from the very start and you just know that he is up to mischief. Some of his family members have either disappeared or been in ‘unfortunate accidents’ and you really cannot help but wonder if Bonneau had a hand in any of their demises. However, his schemes do not always go according to plan with outside forces predicting what he is about to do next. My favourite character was Bonneau’s mother. She came across as a woman who had been dominated all her life, but was now beginning to feel the first vestiges of freedom. And she is determined to grasp them for all she is worth.
The main character, Tom, is a likeable if slightly weak man who’s wife is having a nervous breakdown as their marriage is rapidly failing. Thankfully, Spedding dispenses his dreadful wife back to Britain halfway through the book. If she had stayed, I suspect the book would have been marred by her presence. Also, with the wife out of the way, a hint of romance between Tom and Natalie develops. Sadly, she is the girl who brings with her all the trouble.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and give full credit to Spedding for actually making me feel as though I was in France. The countryside was described perfectly - including the smell of the bread from the local boulangerie. My only small concern was that towards the end, with all the different characters separated, Spedding felt obliged to describe in detail their separate antics. This made the book a tad over-long perhaps? That minor quibble aside, I found this to be a striking book that crime fans would wish to read – although, maybe not whilst making their journey to a new life in France!