Albert Bartholome: The Artist's Wife Reading (image from here)
In 1967 I was at university, and one of my courses covered French literature. As relaxation from the heavier literature and philosophy I used to enjoy reading Simenon's Maigret stories. I loved the plots, the settings, the descriptions, and most of all the characters - their ordinary and extraordinary lives.
That same year a baby was born whose books in the same vein I now enjoy: I read The Accident on the A35 by Graeme Macrae Burnet yesterday and finished it this morning. I immediately felt torn from the characters and the atmosphere he so brilliantly creates. The crimes are the incidents around which ripples touch lives and knock them off course - a little, or a lot. It is the characters we are interested in. The crimes are interesting, but perhaps most because they are the glass through which we view the players. It is not the extraordinary which is the focus; Burnet makes the quotidian compelling.
I also very much enjoy the setting - in Alsace, in France but almost on the border with Germany and Switzerland - it feels like a small town that lives independent of worldly fashion, where everyone knows everything and nothing about everyone. I so enjoyed this book that I have been unable simply to move on to another, and chose instead to distract myself from my sinus headaches by watching the tennis in Paris and pottering through blogs - all the time turning over thoughts about aspects of the novel.
I shall have to exert patience until the hinted-at next volume is published.