My Covid reading program is moving right along. I just finished Le mystère Henri Pick, by David Foenkinos. I picked it up when I was in Paris last summer. It was getting press after a film version – which I have yet to see – was released earlier last year (starring Fabrice Luchini and Camille Cottin). I really enjoyed it and gobbled it up in just a few evenings.
The story concerns a library in a small town in Brittany that includes a refuge for book manuscripts that were rejected for publication. A young editor and her boyfriend find a real treasure while rootling through the shelves one afternoon. The brilliant manuscript is attributed to Henri Pick, recently deceased, who had run the local pizzeria for decades. But no one knew he was a writer, not even his wife.
The manuscript is published to great acclaim and the book, the family of Henri Pick, and the whole town are getting lots of attention. But did Henri Pick really write the novel. And if not Henri, then who? A washed-up literary critic decides to investigate to bring a little lustre back to his own career by unmasking the true author. The mystery is only revealed in the final paragraphs and I totally didn’t see it coming. It was the sort of conclusion that made me want to go right back to the beginning to see the clues that I’d missed. Now I’d like to watch the movie. Maybe it’ll be playing on my next flight to Paris – whenever that will be.