Delupas is a deranged psychopath on a mission. According to his twisted worldview, society has done him wrong and he needs to shift the balance back onto his side. And what better way to do that than by killing off the members of the jury that convicted him, one by one? It’s what happens in René Reouven’s Mort au jury (Death to the Jury).
This is a fascinating book. I like some serial killer novels: the more psychological take bores me to tears, but the intellectual take on the serial-killer-with-a-pattern has always interested me. Reouven goes with the intellectual take, but this is also an exciting story. You know from the first who is behind the murders, and you see the case slowly take shape. You don’t spend too much time inside the killer’s head, and that helps to make him seem like a more genuine threat. Not only that, this is a short read at about 150 pages. You dive right into the action and are treated to a fine story, one that manages to keep you guessing.
It’s also a very short read. While it helps with the excitement, it means that some characters remain sketched in. This is particularly evident with Madame Muss-Leduran, who is a walking-talking plot device. She shows up on stage every once in a while, delivers her exposition, and walks off complaining about her weak heart. To be fair, it does work for this book, and I for one think that novels these days are often far too padded. So it’s a bit of a relief to see an author decide that Character X can remain a sketch instead of boring us with 50 pages of their dull life story.
Note: The author very kindly autographed my copy of the book. For this reason, it’s one of my most treasured books. Have I mentioned I’m a big fan of René Reouven?