Review of All Pure Souls
“This is Brooke's second Aliette Nouvelle mystery. He has a great eye for detail and is a dab hand with dialogue. That, along with a strong plot, great setting and good characters, is everything anyone can ask for in a mystery. It's August, and Inspector Nouvelle has been passed over for promotion after the sensational Normand case (in The Voice of Aliette Nouvelle). In fact, the promotion goes to her assistant, Claude Neon. When he hands her the case of a dead prostitute, a Marilyn Monroe lookalike at a high-class brothel, he assures her that it's all in hand. The prime suspect is in jail, the evidence assembled; all she has to do is sign the papers. But nothing in this case is as it seems.”
More Reviews of this title
“All Pure Souls is definitely not a dimestore detective novel. The writing is good and the dialogue is sharp…the point of the book seems to be less about solving the crime than figuring out what motivates the characters.”
“While Nouvelle's co-workers consider it an open and shut case, Brooke's protagonist suspects, correctly, that it is not as straightforward as it seems.
Through twists and turns of a contrived plot involving a secret cult, a hallucinogenic potion and a houseful of sad, pathetic, lonely and disturbed women, Nouvelle proceeds with her investigation. The character of Nouvelle is intriguing and refreshingly unconventional. She is an intelligent and independent single woman, open and honest about her weaknesses and her desires. She seems to understand and accept the cost of putting her professional life before her personal life.
Brooke is equally adept at depicting the eastern French setting in which the novel takes place. While he resides in Montreal, where he is well-known as a poet and short story writer, it is evident that he is intimately familiar with the streets and people of France.
His explanations of the workings of the police and legal systems there are particularly engaging and necessary to a clear understanding of the narrative and of the career of Aliette Nouvelle.”
“Brooke's dream-like style and powerful sensuality clash with the sordid reality of the lives of Marie Morgan's whores, creating a dissonance that draws us into the heart of the story. It is less about a criminal investigation than about the myths that we construct to mask life's grimmer truths, and though the prostitutes' secret, paganistic cult is perhaps fanciful, Brooke's message rings true.”