Book review and Friday Face Off: 120, rue de la gare

Friday Face Off

The Friday Face-Off was originally created by Books by Proxy:
each Friday, bloggers showcase book covers on a weekly theme.
Visit Lynn’s Books (@LynnsBooks) for a list of upcoming themes.
Please visit also Tammy at Books, Bones & Buffy (@tammy_sparks)
thanks to whom I discovered this meme.

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This year, there’s no weekly theme, you just choose a book you have recently read.

On Monday, I finished reading a French classic mystery, that has a nice collection of covers.
And as I had not posted my review yet, you have a bonus with the review here below.


Click on the picture below if you want to identify the various editions
You can also right click and ‘open image in new tab’ to zoom in

Friday Face off 120 rue de la gare

Some covers here totally baffle me. Like, why this all red cover for the Spanish edition?My favorite cover is the Swedish edition: the black and white is perfect for the story, plus the incognito look, and at the top we can see a train, which is also very important in the plot.
And now to my review:

120 rue de la gare


120, rue de la gare
(Nestor Burma #1),
by Léo Malet
215 pages
French mystery/noir

Read with one of my French students
It counts for The Classics Club

I can’t believe I had never read anything by Léo Malet!
This is so good that instead of reading 120, rue de la gare in four weeks with one of my French students, we decided to read it in two, because we just couldn’t wait that long to know the end!

All along, we had to remind ourselves the style of the author was really new and sort of revolutionary in 1946. And he dared touch very painful topics related to WWII –even though France was still so much suffering from it– with lots of humor. That was quite a daring move from the author, but it worked!

When he was a prisonner during the war, Detective Nestor Burma heard a prisoner mention an address just before dying. When Burma gets back to France, as his train arrives in Lyon, a friend and assistant of his mentions the exact same address just before being shot down. What’s the connection? Why the same address? And why was his friend killed there and then? By whom?

There were so many clever twists and clues, with great humor in hilarious images and comparisons (not sure how well it’s done in translation).
I really enjoyed Burma’s character, always keeping for himself the information he gathers, not sharing all of it, or even lying about it, especially to the police officers whom he doesn’t really trust. Cops have never had the reputation of begin very smart in France!
There are allusions to Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, and also Maigret, as my student pointed out to me.
This is really fun and smart. Definitely planning on going on with this series.

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Have you read this book?
Not sure about my next participation,
all depends on how my next reads will qualify


10 thoughts on “Book review and Friday Face Off: 120, rue de la gare

  1. Pingback: Sunday Post #78 – 02/12/2023 | Words And Peace

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