Monday, July 21, 2014
Review of Summertime, All the Cats are Bored by Philippe Georget (Europa Editions, 2013, French 2009)
Summertime, All the Cats are Bored is a police procedural set over a few hot weeks of early summer in Southern France and the local police’s attempts to save a young woman who has been kidnapped and two murders. The strength of the story is the sense of place and characterisation. Georget firmly places the reader in the Perpignan region during tourist season and captures the team dynamics and interactions of the investigative team. The narrative mostly focuses on Inspector Gilles Sebag, a cop who’s slipping into a midlife crisis as the case starts - he’s prioritised his family over his career, but now his teenage kids are making their own way in life and his wife is spending increasingly more time with friends and holidaying on her own and he suspects she’s having an affair, and his boss wants him to apply for promotion. His basis of his sense of self seems to be on shifting ground and now he’s trying to deal with a case where the life of a young woman is under threat. The intertwined scenarios of Sebag’s crisis and the perplexing investigation provide a nice hook and plot. However, the telling unfolds at a too leisurely pace, with a little too much unnecessary explication. The cats might be bored, but the reader veers towards that state a little too often until the final third of the book. Overall, an interesting character study and investigative case that too often lacks pace and edge.