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DOLLMAKER-C Hardcover – July 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this murky police procedural from Canadian author Janes (Kaleidoscope, etc.), the mystery world's most bizarre partnership Jean-Louis St-Cyr, a Vichy France policeman, and Hermann Kohler, a member of the German Gestapo travel from their Paris base in January 1943 to coastal Brittany to investigate the murder of a shopkeeper. Accused of the crime is a highly regarded German U-boat captain, a prot‚g‚ of Admiral Doenitz. The novel's portrait of occupied France is compelling: the local people are consumed by the realities of wartime deprivation, material and psychological. The plot itself has that kind of muddled complexity typical of many noirish procedurals, but in this case the author's contorted prose makes it more than merely difficult to grasp. The point of view shifts constantly, not just between the two partners, but among virtually everyone of any import, and the reader must often decipher a character's thoughts before the character speaks. At times, the novel reads as if it has been translated, badly, from another language. Janes's penchant for untranslated French and German phrases becomes tiresome, and doesn't really add to the illusion that the novel is set in Europe. Murder is, inevitably, a dark business, but narratives about it deserve more clarity than this novel ever demonstrates. And murder, no matter how compelling, simply cannot compete with the drama that nearly destroyed Europe during WWII. Nonetheless, established fans should enjoy this one as much as others in this nine-book series. (May)for children.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Barry Longyear's 1979 story, "Enemy Mine," concerns two soldiers, one human and one alien, opponents in an intergalactic war, who crash-land on a strange planet and become reluctant allies and, finally, friends. That is, metaphorically, the premise of Canadian novelist Janes' excellent series of mysteries set during the Nazi occupation of France (in Janes' hands, an alien landscape) and featuring the team of Jean-Louis St-Cyr (of the French Surete) and Hermann Kohler (of the German Gestapo). The latest installment, which takes place in January 1943, concerns a U-boat captain accused of murder; the evidence seems conclusive, and Hitler's naval chief is pressing for a speedy resolution. Can St-Cyr and Kohler ensure that the alleged killer gets a fair shake? Along with a compelling mystery, we have Janes' sure grasp of period detail and his seamless way of mixing fact and fiction. We also have St-Cyr and Kohler themselves, two opposing soldiers forced to forge an alliance. In a genre filled with unusual characters, they remain two of mystery fiction's most original creations. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

"At the Water's Edge" by Sara Gruen
From the author of "Water for Elephants", this is a gripping and poignant love story about a privileged young woman’s awakening as she experiences the devastation of World War II in a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press; First American Edition edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569472858
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569472859
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,903,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Anna R. Brown on April 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
I love the St. Cyr/Kohler mysteries, and The Dollmaker is no exception. I do wish the author would continue the series as his books are really quite addictive.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MW on October 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is the worst novel I've read in a long time. Terrible pacing, one-dimensional characters who blur into each other, not much mystery/suspense, lots and lots of exposition (often crammed into dialogue -- oh, and unbelievable dialogue)... with plenty of cliches and repetition (especially of French curses) to fill the pages. I also found two grammatical errors in my copy, and only one had the possibility of being a typesetting error.

Considering how little (in English, at least) profanity there is -- probably because the author has trouble making it sound anything but painfully forced -- I was surprised by the rampant misogyny (see: "loose" women, and crimes of a specific nature committed against women) throughout, and more and more strongly suspected the writer was EITHER (1) a very old man quite out of touch with the world, maybe because he has worked as a college researcher or professor (definitely NOT of any subject that would involve writing, of course) his entire life, OR (2) a woman (named Jane Roberts, perhaps?) trying too hard to write like a man.

I looked Janes up while writing this review, and it seems my first guess was correct.

I never leave a book unfinished, but I regret having picked up and wasted time reading this awful novel.
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