A Hero Like Us

In Slovenia at present on holiday. The thirty degree heatwave has been punctuated by an operatic thunderstorm.

I wanted to second this endorsement for the crime fiction of Jean-Patrick Manchette. His novel Three to Kill is an exemplar of the genre.

Our protagonist Georges Gerfaut lives an ordinary life: dull job he diligently works too hard at, while finding an outlet in West Coast jazz and drinking a little too much. After rescuing a stranger, the consequences impel him to prove to himself whether he is James Bond or the mouse. (Fleming’s Bond that is, not Cubby Broccoli’s Bond). In insomniac moments, is this not a challenge we all dream of?

In his journal he reflected that he could have been an artist or, better, a man of action, an adventurer, a Foreign Legionnaire, a conquistador, a revolutionary, the list goes on.

It’s a terse 140-odd pages, thrilling and powerful enough to keep you reading way into the owlish hours.

By the way, please don’t come to Slovenia, at least please don’t rush. There is much here that is reminiscent of the stories intrepid travellers were telling of the France, Italy and Spain of the thirties.

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