Romans from here: giving the cat its tongue
It has become a curiosity to see how Jean-Louis Blanchard will bring victory to an investigator as unsophisticated as the Bonneau he invented. Admittedly, his partner Lamouche and the rest of the team (with special mention to Lieutenant Pierre Lacoste!) do the heavy lifting, but the final word belongs to Bonneau.
This established framework, it is still necessary to pose a plot that arouses curiosity. With The Constellation of the Cat, the third investigation led by his mismatched duo, Blanchard once again takes up the challenge.
It all starts with the assassination of a controversial politician, Bruno Hébert-Sirois, whose car exploded as he was coming out of a stormy conference presented in a CEGEP.
Other murders will follow, affecting very different personalities. The only point that connects them is a curious drawing found at the scene of each crime: a few lines evoking the sun, but which Bonneau persists in saying represent a cat.
The investigation s therefore starts from this very thin thread. At the same time, we follow the daily life of a young man, Félix Paradis, visibly disturbed and who we guess has something to do with the events. But what exactly, and why?
As for the investigation, we will discover it step by step. This rhythm does not however prevent the surprises at the end of the chapter which make you want to immediately move on to the next one. It's hard to let go of this story, which is more than 350 pages long!
A solid investigation
Blanchard retains us all the better because he has found the right balance between the facetious tone that befits the tandem and the meticulousness with which he deploys his investigation, as solid as a traditional thriller.
Even better, there is no flaw in the scenario presented. For example, if the author specifies in a chapter that a trip lasted two hours, this corresponds to the exact moment when, earlier in the novel, the time of departure was indicated.
However, any reader who is also looking for clues knows that the authors of mystery novels often show chronological, geographical inaccuracy or slight inconsistencies in their own narrative. With Blanchard, we will hunt down the wrong detail in vain. This adds to the impression of participating oneself in the resolution of the mystery.
We also appreciate that he refines his Bonneau, by lending him a humanism which had not been highlighted until here. The policeman certainly has a priori, but he is sensitive to human pain, which gives rise to a very beautiful scene where he tries to save a character attacked for free.
The smart but discreet Lamouche is for his part always delighted that his partner takes the light, to the despair of the big boss of the Montreal police who dreams rather of getting rid of him. Alas, the elected officials – even the President of France! – lift Bonneau to the skies. And it's delicious irony!