Benoît Séverac ‘Tuer le fils’

Quai du Polar 2021: Books shortlisted for the readers prize, Number 4

Benoît Séverac: Tuer le fils (LA MANUFACTURE DU LIVRE)


The simple cop who had to carry on leading a group reduced by a quarter of its manpower – but not of its workload – for several gloomy weeks, sometimes even years, until the bosses can be bothered to appoint a new candidate for suicide, brand new, not yet damaged, just like the one who’ll sit behind Husseren’s desk to take his place.***


A crime book needs cops with gimics, a contrasting team under pressure with internal strife. Tick all the boxes, Cérisol the group leader married to a blind woman, eats jam, not just a bit, jars at a time, even more when he’s under pressure and yes at fifty percent sugar that can’t be good for his health. The other three in the undermanned group, see the opening quote, are Nicodemo an ageing portuguese catholic who’s worked with Cérisol for years and the young cop starting out with all to prove:


Grospierres was the intellectual of the team; one of those overqualified unemployed young having to reduce their career ambitions. He would have liked to change the world and found himself a civil servant earning less than two thousand euros a month.***


Soon after the convicted murderer, Matthieu Fabas is released from jail his father is found murdered in his home and Matthieu had been seen thretening him on his doorstep the previous day. Write about a subject you’re comfortable with, so Fabas whilst in prison attends a writing workshop where he is encouraged to write about himself. Severac himself has lead just such prison workshops. The story goes through several false paths until the police discover Fabas’s written work, describing the relationship between himself and his hateful father. They bring him in for questioning where we get to follow Cérisol’s technique:


There was silence in Cérisol and Nicodemo’s small office. Fabas seemed lost in his thoughts; meanwhile, Cérisol set his pawns out again on the board. It was a first game, he didn’t want to show his hand too soon.***


An honest story, just not my cup of tea.

First Published in French as “Tuer le fils” in 2020 by La Manufacrure Du Livre.
*** My translation

The quotes as read in French before translation

le petit flic qui devait continuer à diriger un groupe amputé d’un quart de son effectif – mais pas de son travail – pendant plusieurs mois moroses, parfois des années, jusqu’à ce que la hiérarchie daigne enfin nommer un nouveau candidat au suicide, flambant neuf, pas encore abimé, comme celui qui s’installerait un jour dans le bureau de Husseren pour prendre sa place.

Grospierres était l’intellectuel de la brigade; un de ces jeunes surdiplômés au chomage qui devait réviser à la baisse leurs ambitions professionnelles. Il aurait voulu changer le monde et se retrouvaient sous la barre des deux mille euros mensuels dans la fonction publique.

Le silence se fit dans le bureau exigu de Cérisol et Nicodemo. Fabas semblait perdu dans ses pensées; pendant ce temps, Cérisol replaçait ses pions sur l’échiquier. C’était une première partie, il ne tenait pas à dévoiler son jeu trop tôt.

Announcing Quai du Polar 2021

Due to the ongoing Covid “situation” the book fair, the ‘Quai du Polar’ programmed for the beginning of April in Lyons, 14F35D31-6F4A-472B-936E-F5B001993C17France has been reprogrammed for July this year. This fair concentrates on thrillers and for more background try the official website.

As begun last year I’ve decided to read and to blog on the six books preselected for the readers’ prize due to be announced on the fourth of July and to announce my favorite, predict my winner before this date.
The following are the pre-selected books found on the official website, see below.

Hannelore Cayre Richesse Oblige (Métailié) 224 pages
Patrice Gain Le Sourire du scorpion (Le Mot et le Reste) 135 pages
Joseph Incardona La soustraction des possibles (Éditions Finitude) 400 pages
Gabrielle Massat Le goût du rouge à lèvre de ma mère (Éditions Le Masque) 480 pages
Sébastien Rutés Mictlán (Gallimard) 160 pages
Benoît Séverac Tuer le fils (La manufacture de livres) 209 pages