Dry white and black series
Dry white and black series: or how to conduct a gastronomic and oenological investigation in the heart of the Bearnais vineyards. But it is necessary to be wary of the border regions: strange goods circulate there, very far from the productions which make the fame of it. And if the locals seem to be welcoming, their smiles do not hide unmentionable secrets ? In short, think twice before drinking your little glass of white wine !
A provincial student town in the grip of a wave of lightning and incomprehensible overdoses… A long and difficult investigation for Lieutenant Loubeyres. Much more than a police investigation, Blanc sec et série noire is a true black novel.
For his second novel, Philippe Lescarret continues to be interested in the malaise of youth, after the student prostitution in Nous n’irons plus au bois, he attacks here the ravages of drugs. It denounces the misdeeds of this parallel economy, highlighting the ingenuity of drug traffickers increasingly inventive to circulate their products. This investigation is also an opportunity to immerse oneself in the wine world.
“I have been working for 22 years with young people. I was in contact with many young people in difficulty, especially in boarding school of professional high school where I saw some of them sink in the cannabis. It is this background that inspired me to write.
The story is always the same. We see them stop playing sports, become unsocialized, abandon their studies, cut ties with their families and live only for the smoke that becomes an obsession. Neither the cops, nor the teachers, nor the shrinks are able to fight against this phenomenon. This is what I tried to denounce between the lines.”
After the discovery of the corpse of a winegrower from the Jura region, a series of violent deaths falls on Pau and its region. Young people from the northern districts, sons and daughters of notables, no environment is spared. What are these repeated overdoses hiding? ? Who wanted Capdevielle ?
Lieutenant Yann Loubeyres and his teammates of the PJ lead a complicated investigation. Between betrayals, adulteries and financial interests, the world of wine growing is not as united as it seems. And even in the cellars where the wine flows freely, tongues are not easily loosened.
A lot happens in the vineyards around Pau !
Obviously there are not only grapes and bottles of wine circulating in the region, including on the small roads of this corner of Bearn. And for those who want to appropriate the shipment, the risk is more than high. Because, if there is one thing in France that should not be attacked, it is the wine.
To question what makes the glory of our regions, here Jurançon, turns out to be a crime of lèse majesté.
But Blanc sec et série noire is not only an ode to the Béarn nectar, even if Jurançon is at the center of the novel. It is above all a detective novel that follows the investigations of a group of the Palois Judicial Police in its search for criminals as well as in its daily activities against small and medium-sized delinquency, as well as in its relations with young people too quickly left on the bangs of society.
Writing a regional crime novel is a complex exercise. It is necessary to concentrate in a given format – not too long in this case – specificities of the region, characters with a certain depth, not to harm the tourist attraction with scenes or atmospheres too distressing, while conducting a realistic and catchy plot for the reader. Philippe LESCARET is doing quite well. He manages to give his characters depth without falling into caricature. He has fun by integrating in his story many references to current events or television, but he doesn’t always avoid the pitfall of a certain easiness in making himself happy.
Also sometimes it is a bit too much, and some passages do not bring much to the story. It is also a pity that the string leading to the denouement is a bit big, relying more on chance than on what makes the strength of the novel, namely a logic and a rigor in the hunt for the culprits;
By closing Blanc sec and série noire, we know everything about the grape varieties that make up Jurançon and the other wines of the country, about the structure of the vineyards and the major phases of distillation. We also know a bit about the life of a policeman of the PJ, confronting in turn municipal elites, professional unions between two spinning of small traffickers.
It seems to be the ambition of this collection which aims to know better “in the South, its cities, its villages, discovering the inhabitants, their traditions, their secrets”.
And on this side, we have to admit that it is well done. Will there be a continuation of the adventures of Inspector Loubeyres ?
Dry white and black series
Editions Cairn – Collection du Noir et Sud, 2017