There's an evoking area of European crime fiction known as Mediteranean Noir that may challenge the Nordic hold on mystery readers. Its origin can be traced to a revitalization of French mysteries in the aftermath of the May 1968 uprisings. Following those politically unsettling events in Paris and lsewhere, French crime writers, such as ean-Patrick Manchette in THE PRONE GUNMAN (City Lights, 2002), added olitical and social criticism into their stories. But the real change came in the 1990s. Led by Jean-Claude Izzo, the author of the "Mediterranean Trilogy," problems of racial tension, neo-fascism, economic inequalities, politica! corruption and transnational crime became an integral part of crime novels. Their heroes were often anti-heroes, winning only short-term victories, if any at all.
Philippe Georget's SUMMERTIME, ALL THE CATS ARE BORED (Europa, $17, 2013), the fìrst book in his police procedura! series, is a traditional noir. Tue body of a young Dutch woman has been found in the dunes near at summer holiday camp at Argeles. Then Ingrid, another Dutch woman, disappears. Other Dutch women report assaults. Tue police are under intense pressure whipped by the media and officiai concern involving Perpignan's reputation as a tourist destination. Assigned to the case, officers Jacques Molina and Gilles Sebag insist on seeing the crimes as separate incidents rather than the obsessions of a serial killer. Ingrid's kidnapper knows Sebag. But he is so distraeted by his family's summer separations and his blinding loneliness that he initially overlooks him.