A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{March 20, 2010}   André Marois

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Marois during spring break and hosting (a sadly poorly attended) talk with him at my library. He’s is a mystery writer for children and adults,  a very nice man and great speaker. I recommend going to see him if you ever get the chance. In preparation for the event, I read two of his series for children and teens: the Gérémie et Malie series and Les Allergiks.

I really liked the Gérémie et Malie series. They’re clearly for a younger audience but they’re very well done with very interesting mysteries. Each book follows a different crime: murder, arson, theft and pet napping. And each is written with humour and skill. Gérémie and her dog Malie are fun characters. My one issue with the series is Gérémie’s completely unnecessary psychic powers. At one point of every case she gets one instant where she can see something her dog is seeing or will see that helps her solve the case. Deus ex machina. It’s completely unnecessary to the plot and doesn’t fit the style of the story. It’s just lazy writing, honestly.

The later series is particularly interesting because it was one of the first in a new line by La courte échelle called epizzods. These series are actually single novels broken down into 13 40 page books, like short episodes of a TV series. There is also a great deal of online content to go along with the series. I like them because they are well written, on interesting topics and accessible to even the most reluctant readers. Marois’ series follows a group of teens who call themselves “les allergiks” because each of them has a severe allergy to something. Vincent’s sister goes missing one day and they suspect foul play. Unable to sit back and do nothing, they take the investigation into their own hands. The books were very suspenseful and always ended on a cliffhanger that left you eager for more. On the character side of things I was a bit less impressed.  I liked the characters well enough but they didn’t have much depth and some of their development felt a little forced. I’m thinking in particular of the coming out of one of the characters. I love gay characters in my novels, don’t get me wrong, but it felt so forced and cliche… Still, if you’re reading for the mystery, you won’t be disappointed.

Check out the epizzods website here: http://www.epizzod.com/


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