Elise Andrioli, the blind, mute quadriplegic who survived her first brush with evil in the French thriller Death from the Woods, has here gone on holiday at a ski resort in the Alps with her companion, Yvette. Almost as soon as they arrive, a woman is found murdered, having been crucified and poisoned with bleach. Within days, another woman is killed in a gruesome murder involving an electric drill. To her horror, Elise begins to receive "tokens" from the killer pieces of carved flesh, eyeballs in a box. As Elise becomes the unlikely center of all this mayhem, the police tell her, "You seem to attract death the way honey draws flies!" Although rife with amazing coincidences, the plot moves briskly along, only slightly marred by the somewhat stilted translation. Elise manages to solve the crimes through her wits alone despite being severely disabled; the portrayal of a blind, mute quadriplegic who is both intelligent and personable is most refreshing. For public library thriller collections. Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ., Calumet Lib., Hammond, IN Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In this accomplished 1998 novel (the latest from a veteran French author whose large oeuvre remains almost completely untranslated), a pair of inexplicable murders unravels the calm of a small French village, setting its occupants at first on edge, and eventually at one another's throats. Moinot draws us in with a series of sharply etched characterizations, notably that of a preadolescent rural youth whose confusions and misinterpretations subtly embody the vulnerability of his neighbors (and hence, by implication, of us all). A terrific little morality tale from a writer whom we really ought to know more about.