After the Crash by Michel Bussi is the best book I’ve read all year, so I was very excited when I saw that another novel by Michel Bussi – Black Water Lilies – had been published in the UK. (Bussi is a French author and After the Crash was his first book to be translated and published in the UK.)
Intriguingly, Black Water Lilies is set in and around Monet’s garden in Giverny, where he painted his numerous Water Lilies paintings. The story begins with the murder in the garden of local man, Jerome Morval, doctor, art lover and womaniser. In his pocket was a postcard of Monet’s Water Lilies reading: Eleven years old. Happy Birthday.
Who murdered Jerome Morval? A jealous husband? A jealous lover? And who was the card for? One of the children at the local school? Or did he have an illegitimate child of his own? The local police have suspects in mind, but all their investigations draw a blank.
Entangled in the mystery are a 10 year old girl, who is an artistic prodigy, and a beautiful school teacher, rumoured to be Morval’s mistress. Then there is the 80-something woman, who observes everything around her and passes through the village almost unnoticed. The story is largely narrated by the old woman. Does she know something we don’t?
I’ll be honest, it took me a while to love this book. After After the Crash, I had VERY high expectations for this book and at first it didn’t meet them. But all of a sudden, I loved it! It is an amazing story and the setting is wonderful. I could really picture Monet’s garden as I read.
I’d already decided the book was amazing when I got to the twist.
Oh. My. God. I did not see that coming! It was so good that it had me going back and re-reading bits to see what I might have missed.
This is an amazing book and well worth a read if you love mysteries. Or art. Or brilliantly written books.