Blue Monday – Nicci French

Luckily, I encountered a neat compensation for Der 50/50 – Killer which I didn’t like much as you know. When I read the story of Blue Monday by Nicci French I felt that in spite of the subtitle the label „thriller“ wouldn’t really fit. The novel is more like a psychological analysis of a crime and its planning. The persons depicted are constructed as multi-faceted characters with depth and a lot of interesting peculiarities and oddities.

The protagonist Frieda Klein, a psychoanalyst, is a woman who seems to have a well hidden history and most certainly has a solitary mind. She is kind of inaccessible, a closed shop when it comes to social contact in her personal life. Towards her patients she is empathic and loyal, really trying to fix them. One of her clients, Alan, tells her about strange dreams that are disturbing him lately. In the course of events the reader feels like Alan might be involved in the disappearance of a little boy.

The ending of Blue Monday is surprising even when you think you figured it out eventually. For me, this constitutes the actual quality of the entire book. It plays with readers‘ expectations of the crime genre. First it gives you hints, knowing that one tries to solve the whole affair and simultaneously keeps away from you the last little clue to be successful and again knowing exactly that it does so. Blue Monday invokes the register of mystery novels and immediately circumvents it by building up a self-referential rather metafictional writing system. Like Pulp Fiction were created by Michel Foucault this is.

The book is written in a descriptive language, rich of imagery. London, the place where the story is set, is pictured beautifully and serves more like a homage to the city than only as the functional setting of the novel. London is Frieda’s favourite town, especially at night when she is alone in the streets,wandering the city.

There are as well many very comical aspects in the book – dialogues with a nice and dry sort of humour getting along without many words.

I perceived Blue Monday as a highly atmospheric novel, no shallow blockbuster thriller absorbed in brutal pictures of crimes. I am looking forward to reading the sequel as Blue Monday is the first book of a new series.

Surprisingly, I found out that Nicci French is not a writer but the pseudonym of the writing partnership of Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. Their way of creating a story is very unique as I got to know by listening to an interview with both authors. During the writing process there is no criticism of what the other one has written. They simply rewrite columns which they don’t think fit for the plot. This way, they create a very imaginative surrounding in which each one is free to write without objections and boundaries. I found that technique of writing very inspiring even though hard to imagine. Obviously, it seems to work very well for them as the couple finished thirteen novels by now.


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