Commissaire Dupin is back in The Fleur de Sel Murders, this Brittany mystery from international bestselling author Jean-Luc Bannalec.
The old salt farmers have always said that the violet scent of the Fleur de Sel at harvest time on the salt marshes of the Guérande Peninsula has been known to cause hallucinations. Commissaire Dupin also starts to believe this when he’s attacked out of the blue in the salt works.
He had actually been looking forward to escaping his endless paperwork and taking a trip to the “white country” between the raging Atlantic Ocean and idyllic rivers. But when he starts snooping around mysterious barrels on behalf of Lilou Breval, a journalist friend, he finds himself unexpectedly under attack. The offender remains a mystery, and a short time later, Breval disappears without a trace. It is thanks to his secretary Nolwenn and the ambition of the prefect that Dupin is assigned to the case. But he won’t be working alone because Sylvaine Rose is the investigator responsible for the department—and she lives up to her name…
What’s going on in the salt works? Dupin and Rose search feverishly for clues and stumble upon false alibis, massive conflicts of interest, personal feuds—and ancient Breton legends.
The tightly regulated and lucrative salt trade is the spark for the intriguing plot of Bannalec's third Brittany mystery to be translated into English (after 2016's Murder on Brittany Shores). Commissaire Georges Dupin, who's been deskbound for weeks, welcomes the request of Lilou Breval, a journalist who's helped the police in the past, to take a look around a salt pond and a nearby hut where she saw "something very fishy." When an unknown shooter hits Dupin in the shoulder at the scene, the case becomes personal. But this is not his jurisdiction, and Dupin must work with Sylvaine Rose, the local commissaire. He's desperate to speak with Breval, but she has disappeared, so Dupin and Rose start talking to those involved in the highly competitive salt trade without her. When a body is found, the inquiry turns into a murder investigation. Multiple red herrings draw readers off the scent. Well-drawn, complex characters, the lovingly described countryside, and the area's culinary bounty make this a winner. Some fans will be inspired to take their next vacation in Brittany.