“It happened in the middle of a brightly moonlight night in the Beaujolais vineyards.”
ANTOINE Laurain writes the kind of stories that do not seem to get published in Britain – a plot, a gaggle of characters, mostly quite likable too, each of whom get a small chapter-ette apiece by way of introduction, a setting, usually Paris. It is not psycho-intellectual but elegant, charming vignettes. He challenges himself with tricky writing tasks, here to travel in time, which he manages in a fun, believable, detective-style fashion.
We open with a spate of sightings of UFOs, then the disappearance of M. Pierre Chaveau just after seeing Close Encounters of the Third Kind and drinking a bottle of Ch. Saint-Antoine, with his dog, “who everyone assumed was part wolf”- everyone is introduced with a twirl, even the dog. It is not an Orwellian future, rather a Jeevesian past of Gaulloise, cocktails, mink wraps, trams, close encounters and secrets. But it has a point to make. I enjoyed his other books here and here, but this is perhaps the more subtle. Perfect beach reading.