The 7th Woman by Frédérique Molay

the 7th womanSeven Days, Seven Women…

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

When Marie-Hélène Jory is found murdered and horribly mutilated in her apartment, it seems as if she may have been killed by someone close to her. But when a second body is found the next day along with a chilling message for Chief Nico Sirsky – ‘Seven Days, Seven Women’ – it’s obvious there’s a deranged serial killer at work in Paris. And every day another woman will die unless Nico can catch the killer…

This is a fast-paced police procedural set in Paris. The author gives a real flavour of the city and of how the police force is structured, as the Chief and his teams race to track down a killer who seems to have a personal grudge against Nico. There are a couple of pretty gruesome scenes where the author describes graphically the torture inflicted on the women and these may be too strong for some. However, the author gets most of the details over during one of the earlier murders and doesn’t dwell to excess on the later ones.

Frédérique Molay
Frédérique Molay

Nico is a likeable protagonist – divorced but with a good relationship with his son and his extended family. In the first scene of the book, he falls madly in love with his doctor, Caroline Dalry, and I’m afraid this is a major weakness of the book for me. The love affair doesn’t ring true and Caroline is never properly developed as a character in her own right. It feels as if she has been introduced merely to be someone that Nico can worry about – ‘coincidentally’ her age and appearance matches that of the victims. However, the other main female characters, Dominique Kreiss, the psychologist, and the medical examiner, Armelle Vilars, are stronger and more rounded characters, though it’s interesting to see that the author frequently highlights the fact that women are still very much in a minority in the French police and generally in subordinate or specialist roles.

The plot is well-paced and the climax, though a bit clichéd, generates some real tension. The translation by Anne Trager is fine, if occasionally a little too literal perhaps. Overall, this is an enjoyable read, with enough twists and turns to hold the reader’s interest to the end. The Paris setting and insight into the French police methods add an extra layer, and Nico himself is a character I will look forward to meeting again.

Thanks to Margot Kinberg over at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist for highlighting this book – you can read her very illuminating discussion of it here.

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher.

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

7 thoughts on “The 7th Woman by Frédérique Molay

  1. Thank you so much for the kind mention! I’m glad that you enjoyed this novel. I have to admit that the love affair angle didn’t bother me as much as it did you, although I think you have a point. For me, the fact that Nico is so refreshingly ‘normal’ allowed me to let that one go if you know what I mean. That aside, I am pleased that you found a lot to like about this one. So did I.

    • Thanks for drawing this one to my attention, Margot! Yes, Nico is a very pleasant change from some of the misfits who seem to populate so many police forces! It will be interesting to see how Molay develops the characters over the series – first novels often don’t have the space to make them all come alive as fully-rounded individuals. Certainly a series worth following, I think. 🙂

  2. A maybe, I think. I’ll make a note of the title and if I happen to come across a copy pick it up and give the first couple of chapters a read.

  3. It’s so interesting to see these comments, and particularly about Nico being so “normal.” I understand your comments about the love affair, but when I first met my husband, it truly was love at first sight and a week later we were living together and thinking about marriage. So, Nico’s story didn’t seem so far fetched. Maybe it’s a French thing 😉 (my husband is French). The French call love at first sight a coup de foudre – that means a “lightening strike.”
    Alex, the best way (and only for now) to get this is as an ebook on any of the major ebook platforms. You can read free chapters here: http://www.lefrenchbook.com/excerpt-of-the-7th-woman-by-frederique-molay/

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