Book review: The Mystery of Henri Pick

A fresh take on the whodunnit, The Mystery of Henri Pick is a humorous literary conundrum. As the title suggests, the story centres on the mystery of Henri Pick, a pizzeria owner who never read a book in his life, yet somehow is the writer of a sensational literary tour de force found in a library of rejected manuscripts.

In spite of being a charming tale throughout, the book seems to spends more time focusing on the characters and their relationships than on the actual mystery declared in the title. And whilst these heartfelt, genuine, and often witty observations of the human experience are appreciated, the mystery we signed up for often feels forgotten. Another entertaining addition is the use of footnotes to offer a deeper analysis into the characters, and their behaviours and pasts; but the novelty soon wears thin and becomes somewhat tiresome.

“Readers always find themselves in a book, in one way or another. Reading is a completely egotistical pleasure. Unconsciously we expect books to speak to us.”

David Foenkinos, The Mystery of Henri Pick is pleasant, and distinctly french. Despite the books short comings, it remains an entertaining story, and certainly one all avid readers and writers will enjoy.

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