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Book Review: CRIM' sur la Côte

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Want to plunge into the atmosphere of Nice, and of the whole French Riviera? And fine-tune your French while you're at it?

This summer, the Gilletta-Nice-Matin publisher released CRIM' sur la Côte, the third in a series of polar or crime novel, set on the Côte d'Azur. Garri Gasiglia, the main character and private eye from Nice, is off on an epic adventure to solve a murder in old town of Nice and the kidnapping of French president off of Fort Bregançon.

Crim' sur la Côte organized in short chapters, packed with action that jumps from Nice to Cabasson, to Vence, Paris, to Senegal and more. You can't put the book down. If you do, you risk losing the thread of the dense action. An international terrorist ploy frames the chapters and glues the short scenes and story together.

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Most interesting to me, the book is imbued with the atmosphere of real French Riviera spots: the African Queen at the port of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, the Musée Massena in Nice, the wonderful restaurant and hotel Le Relais des Moines in Les Arcs-sur-Argens, Château St Martin in Vence, the island of St Honorat off the coast of Cannes, Plage Les Pirates in Juan-les-Pins, Rado Plage in Cannes. With plenty of juicy and accurate regional details, you're there. Author Bernard Deloupy was a former director of communications for the chamber of commerce and industry. It's pretty obvious: Bernard loves Nice and the entire region.

Editors term the series Polars Touristiques or touristic crime novels. That's a bit constrictive, in my opinion. It's not a guidebook. But with its local characters (Garri himself is a Niçois) you get a quick and tasty inside view of the French Riviera while solving a crime.

The CRIM series is riding on a swell. France is currently fascinated with le polar. According to Livres Hebdo,18 Million crime novels were sold in 2001. A good example of this are the beloved novels by Daniel Pennac and his Saga Malaussène series or the police thrillers by Fred Vargas.

For French Riviera lovers, it's time to pack a Deloupy. You need to comfortably read French, or be willing to decipher it.

Where to find it? Got mine at the Nice train station. They're not super-widely distributed, but you'll always find it here on Amazon.fr.

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