Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sunday: Review

Georges Simenon was an expert at setting and atmosphere. In Sunday (1958), he provides a perfect set-up for the isolated and trapped husband to a woman whose family has owned a popular inn on the Riveria. Initially, Emile is ready to be "bought" in order to be his own boss and run the inn and the kitchen the way he wants. If marriage to Berthe is what it takes then he doesn't mind. He even has a bit of affection at first. But he rapidly becomes disenchanted with her and begins an affair with one of the staff. When Berthe becomes very ill with a gastrointestinal malady, he starts planning how he might dispose of his wife without suspicion falling on him. He sets his due date as a Sunday in May and he's very pleased with how calm and cool he's been--how Berthe couldn't possibly know what's coming. But Berthe has a few surprises of her own.

Granted, this is very atmospheric and exhibits Simenon's skill with claustrophobic relationships. But, to be honest, Simenon's style just doesn't do a whole lot for me. The stories are so character- and atmosphere-drive that there is very little mystery and detection going on--which is what I'm looking for in a crime novel. Not that I don't want the characters to have depth; I do, but I don't want the investigation of their motivations and personalities to overwhelm the mystery aspect. I have tried Simenon several times and I have been unable to give him more than 3.5 stars. I think perhaps his style is better suited to others (obviously--because Sunday has a whole slew of 4 and 5 stars on Goodreads). I'm afraid can't give this one more than ★★.

This fulfills the "Weirdest Item" category on the Golden Vintage Scavenger Hunt card.

1 comment:

fredamans said...

Too bad it was so disappointing. I will pass on this one too.