This novel is written in the form of three separate novels taking place in three different time periods (1931, 1941 and 1951). It’s certainly a change from the mystery novels written in the not too distant past. The story in each decade mentioned are all mysteries and written in a different style. This writer has managed to pull three stories into one and bring the reader a wonderful book that has definite promise. It’s a fascinating page-turner and the three stories do have a bit to do with each other but, can also stand alone. Now to the stories themselves, so enjoy them.
The first story, "Malniveau", (1931) written in the style of Georges Simenon, takes place in France and is truly dark in atmosphere. A baker and his wife, living in a small town in France are in a tizzy because their basement is flooding as the water from a rain storm is not running off into the storm drain in the street because something is blocking the drain. As the baker discovers, there is a dead body blocking the path of the storm drain and the rain is pouring from the skies and into the baker’s basement. The police department in the town is having a visit in the form of a famous detective from the Central Police, Detective Pellenter, and he is dragged into the investigation of the dead man, who is not, as it was previously believed, just a drunk that fell into the drain but was a man that was supposed to be in a local prison. This man was a horrible person as his victims were always children. This presents a puzzle to the Detective as the victim was thought to be imprisoned at a place not too far from this town. Also, a man called Rosenkrantz appears in the story and if the reader is paying attention, reappears in the other novels that connect the mysteries to each other.
The second story, "The Falling Star", (1941) is written in the style of Raymond Chandler and the detective in the story is Dennis Foster, who is much like the detective of Raymond Chandler fiction (Philip Marlowe). Dennis is called in to consult on a case involving a movie star, Chloe Rose, who is sure someone is following her and she is terrified. Dennis can’t find out who her stalker is or even if he is real but she is a big star and the studio wants her taken care of so they hire Dennis to watch over her. Watch for Rosenkrantz to also show up in this story.
The third and final story, "Police at the Funeral,"(1951) starts out with Rosenkrantz as the main character, taking after a Jim Thompson mystery. Thompson is a writer who has come up with some very dark characters who do very dark crimes and commit them with a little humor and a lot of twists. Rosenkrantz travels east to take care of a will and is using this as his last chance to redeem himself. He was married, a few years ago, to his first wife, who was French, and this connects the first novel with this one. This book will satisfy many readers who like suspense/mystery/intrigue books. Enjoy!!!
THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BOOK LIKE
THE TWENTY-YEAR DEATH
A breathtaking first novel written in the form of three separate crime novels, each set in a different decade and penned in the style of a different giant of the mystery genre.
1931—The body found in the gutter in France led the police inspector to the dead man’s beautiful daughter—and to her hot-tempered American husband.
1941— A hardboiled private eye hired to keep a movie studio’s leading lady happy uncovers the truth behind the brutal slaying of a Hollywood starlet.
1951— A desperate man pursuing his last chance at redemption finds himself with blood on his hands and the police on his trail...
Three complete novels that, taken together, tell a single epic story, about an author whose life is shattered when violence and tragedy consume the people closest to him. It is an ingenious and emotionally powerful debut performance from literary detective and former bookseller Ariel S. Winter, one that establishes this talented newcomer as a storyteller of the highest caliber.