7 August 2017

Jean-Claude Izzo: Solea (1998)

An unusual title again here in Solea (from a Miles Davis piece), the final volume in Jean-Claude Izzo's trilogie marseillaise, in which we find a number of familiar characters, such as the elderly Honorine (who delights in making Fabio Montale's meals in his cabanon in Les Goudes), Fonfon (who's still partly continuing his café-restaurant in the same village), and the departed but still living Lole who is a memory, as is the murdered Sonia, whom Fabio only very briefly knew, but whose loss he mourns.

The Mafia are a constant presence, especially as they have made the investigative journalist Babette run into hiding, and they are pressurising Fabio to discover her whereabouts by killing off his friends, slitting their throats from ear to ear: the ex-cop fears not so much for his own life but for the lives of Honorine and Fonfon.

Of course there's heavy drinking and another highly desirable woman in here, but this time it's the police commissaire Hélène Pessayre, and needless to say they don't get the opportunity to express their desire for each other physically. And nor do they entirely trust each other.

Lots of deaths, lots of fear, lots of Marseille (ah, Le Vallon des Auffes), lots of action as with the other two novels, but once again seemingly incongruous literary quotations, such as from Camus and the inevitable Louis Brauquier. There may be a few clichés in Izzo's trilogy, but there are far more surprises, and Izzo is thoroughly original and unmistakable: you recognise his literary imprint almost immediately.

My other Jean-Claude Izzo posts:

Jean-Claude Izzo: Total Khéops
Jean-Claude Izzo: Chourmo

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