Original title: Fauves
Tattered shreds of human flesh have been found in the pigsty at the farm in the Bois de Vincennes, just outside Paris. It’s tough to identify a body when there are only scraps! Yet with the help of his deputy, Laetitia Roux, Police Chief Frédéric Vicaux manages to track down the identity of the victim: he was a rich Parisian art dealer. A fascinating and realistic exploration of the world of high-priced art, ruled by Fauvist masterpieces, low blows, and death threats.
Nothing could have prepared Police Chief Vicaux for the spectacle he is confronted with: in the sty at the petting farm in Vincennes, the pigs have devoured a human body. Thanks to a ring salvaged from the stomach of one of the animals, Vicaux manages to identify the victim. He was a rich Parisian art dealer who enjoyed a lavish lifestyle: a luxurious apartment in an upscale arrondissement with priceless works by Fauvist masters – Matisse, Vlaminck, Dufy, and more. Was someone trying to get their hands on his fortune? Did he fall prey to organized crime? High art sometimes gets mixed up with low blows.
With Fauves, Eric Mercier serves up a skillful, fast-paced detective novel with a surprising final twist. The main characters are elusive and opaque. Poker-faced, gloomy Chief Vicaux turns out to be exceptionally perspicacious. Although his deputy, Laetitia Roux, knows Nietzsche and Schopenhauer by heart, she can also be cheerful and cheeky. Together they make for an atypical and endearing duo of detectives.
- In a similar vein to other detective novels set in the art world, such as Nymphéas noirs (Black Water Lilies) by Michel Bussi, Un été à Pont-Aven (Death in Pont Aven (aka Death in Brittany)) by Jean-Luc Bannelec, Die Farbe Blau (The Color Blue) by Jörg Kastner.
- By the author of Dans la peau de Buffet (“Under Buffet’s Skin,” Éditions Anfortas, 2018): debut novel prize at the Draveil Book Fair and La Bête noire manuscript competition prize (Robert Laffont).
- Endearing characters with great humanity, akin to Fred Vargas’s.