The strange vision of Mr Magritte


Nadine Monfils, a Belgian writer and film director, has embarked on a cosy mystery, a detective genre in which a murder is used as a pretext for the investigation of a male, or more often female, amateur detective, which the adventures of Miss Marple or Agatha Raisin illustrate perfectly. ‘Nom d’une pipe’! It's the famous surrealist painter and his wife who are confronted with a very real murder, although Magritte did have a prophetic vision of it...


The Belgian author takes us through a thrilling investigation in search of the person who committed the double murder of two young women: Madeleine, and shortly afterwards, Rosa. It all starts when the famous painter, wearing a bowler hat and a dark suit, has a strange vision: a young woman with long blonde hair and a flowery dress waiting for the tram, standing next to his body. The artist sees it as a call from destiny: "This case was like the starting point of a new mission. Aside from painting, he was now going to conduct investigations." His wife Georgette assisted him and knew perfectly well how to guide him in his research.


In addition to the plot, this novel by Nadine Monfils plunges the reader into the world of the painter's home, telling us about René's childhood, his meeting with Georgette, their daily life. Put simply, she brings him very close to us, almost like a friend, and gives us access to his pictorial universe, his manias, his rituals, giving him the floor to explain how his paintings may be born. She even imagines a meeting between the surrealist and the Grand Jacques, Brel, another key character in the story, on the terrace of the prestigious Brussels Hotel Metropole. With its many anecdotes, as well as the evocation of Brussels, Belgium and its flavours, this novel is also a charming journey in search of the fragrances of yesteryear. So many reasons to slip this book into your packing!