Wednesday, 5 October 2016



'The French master of noir' Observer

It felt like the slipknot on a rope round my chest was being tightened without pity

Trouble is the last thing Albert needs. Travelling back to his childhood home on Christmas Eve to mourn his mother's death, he finds the loneliness and nostalgia of his Parisian quartier unbearable... Until, that evening, he encounters a beautiful, seemingly innocent woman at a brasserie, and his spirits are lifted.

Still, something about the woman disturbs him. Where is the father of her child? And what are those two red stains on her sleeve? When she invites him back to her apartment, Albert thinks he's in luck. But a monstrous scene awaits them, and he finds himself lured into the darkness against his better judgment.

Unravelling like a paranoid nightmare, Bird in a Cage melds existentialist drama with thrilling noir to tell the story of a man trapped in a prison of his own making.

'Disturbing from the outset with strong echoes of Dard's hero Simenon' Sunday Times Crime Club, star pick

'Exceedingly clever... you can only squirm more enjoyably into your seat as you read on' Bookbag, 5 stars

'If you're a fan of Film Noir, you'll love Bird in a Cage...if all the novels in the Vertigo series are this good, I predict I'll be needing more bookshelves.' Randall Writes

One of those books where you finish and find yourself marvelling at the author’s skill in executing a perfectly plausible and believable outcome, even while a major portion of your brain rebels against the resolution and the consequences for the main character.

123 pages from start to finish. Short, tense and compelling.

Our main character Albert returns home after four years away. His mother has passed whilst he’s been gone, it’s Christmas Eve and he’s alone.

“How old does a man have to be not to feel like an orphan when he loses his mother?”

A trip outdoors wandering around his neighbourhood has him encountering an attractive woman in a bar, her young daughter in tow. Mme Dravet reminds him of his lost love Anne.

“However strong your feeling may be for someone’s who’s gone, it can’t be called love.”

The two get talking and return first to his house and then hers….big mistake!

Albert you should have stayed home!

I really, really liked this - length - big tick, characters - tick, set-up - tick, writing - big tick, setting - tick, resolution - big tick! Recommended to all.

5 from 5

I look forward to reading more from the prolific Frederic Dard, though my reading will be limited to whatever gets translated and reissued by Pushkin Vertigo. Crush and The Wicked Go To Hell await! Otherwise - je ne comprends pas!

There's some more coherent thoughts on Bird in a Cage over at A Crime is Afoot.

Read in September 2016

Copy received from the publisher.


  1. Sounds very suspenseful, Col. And I know what you mean about authors who have the talent to get you to believe something, even if it's implausible to your rational mind. Glad this one was a hit for you.

    1. A really really good one here Margot. I'm kind of reminded of Garnier to a degree. I know you like him and I think this one might be up your street!

  2. The shortness of the book makes it well worth a try, for sure. I am sure I will try something by this author someday.