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Reader Reviewed
Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi

Black Water Lilies

Crime / Mystery   Books of the Month   Books of the Year 2017   Thriller / Suspense   Literary Fiction   Reading Groups   
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One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | April 2017 Book of the Month.

Simply superb, ’Black Water Lilies’ has leapt straight into my heart and soul. Thirteen days in the heart of Claude Monet’s homeland, where murder, death, lies, and deceit stalk the village of Giverny. Three women and two investigators dance through a weaving, magical, almost dreamlike story. The prologue sent a thrilling chill coursing through me, I was immediately captivated and remained that way for the entire tale. This is most definitely a crime novel, yet it is also a mystery, and a story about love, I almost feel as though it shouldn't be categorised, but enjoyed instead for what it is, a stunning piece of literature. Michel Bussi is an award-winning French novelist, this is the second of his novels to be translated into English. Descriptions are so immediate and evocative I felt as though I was about to step into a Monet painting. The plot kept me on the edge of the frame, just on the edge of understanding as I viewed the scenes in front of me. The unexpected ending made me weep, not through sadness, but because, as my brain raced to catch up with the shock of awareness, my feelings were affected at a basic level, and I’m still affected by it now. As soon as I had finished, I just wanted to start reading again from the beginning. ‘Black Water Lilies’ has been a bestseller in France, and it deserves to be a bestseller here, it is, without doubt, a must read. ~ Liz Robinson

A 'Piece of Passion' from the Publisher...

'I have to ’fess up, I did a French degree and am predisposed to love all things French. But that’s not why I love this book. Why I love it is that it is such a clever and compelling read – mystery after mystery is revealed as the story unfolds, and at every turn you meet a new and fascinating character. For me, one of the best ‘characters’ is the village of Giverny itself – by day, a mecca for tourists from all around the world; by night a place where decades-old rivalries and secrets play out behind closed doors. And then there’s the twist . . . I immediately wanted to go back and read the whole thing again!' ~ Kirsty Dunseath, Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Ffion Evans - 'Shocking and engrossing. Filled with suspense and you are unable to guess what will happen next. Expect to finish this book and be both amazed and astonished.'     
  • Sheila Dale - 'This book is excellent, beautifully written, and descriptive and an excellent twist at the end which I never saw coming.'
  • Angie Rhodes - 'With more twists and turns than a Helter Skelter, this will keep you guessing right to the last page with an ending you could never imagine!'
  • Jan Kirkcaldy - 'One of the first books in ages that I just couldn’t put down until its bittersweet ending. Black Water Lilies is fascinating and I’m looking forward to reading more by this French Professor.'
  • Siobhan McDowell - 'I was stunned by the ending and grateful to the author for his skill in weaving so many threads of the plot together so skilfully.'
  • Emma Barton - 'A wonderfully descriptive, emotional, heartbreaking and funny tale that will leave you pondering a long time after the final page.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Humm.  It had potential so I persevered but this was a poorly executed thriller leaving me wishing I’d followed my instinct and given up.'
  • Sarah Tilley - 'A great thriller where you are held captive by the narrator, and only when the picture is unravelled do you realise who is telling the tale. Very cleverly done, with no hint at who is the real perpetrator.'
  • Evelyn Barrett - 'Nothing is quite what it seems in this complex and intriguing book, trying to guess the outcome is pointless.  A highly recommended read.'
  • Liz Stein - 'A light hearted mystery with an unusual edge.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'Every so often a book will come along and give you this magical feeling in your body, a story so good it stirs something in you that reminds you why you got excited about books in the first place. This is just such a book.'
  • Jan Kirkcaldy - 'One of the first books in ages that I just couldn’t put down until its bittersweet ending.  Black Water Lilies is fascinating.'

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Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi

'Ends with one of the most reverberating shocks in modern crime fiction' Sunday Times This is the story of thirteen days that begin with one murder and end with another. Jerome Morval, a man whose passion for art was matched only by his passion for women, has been found dead in the stream that runs through the gardens at Giverny, where Monet did his famous paintings. In Jerome's pocket is a postcard of Monet's Water Lilies with the words: Eleven years old. Happy Birthday. Entangled in the mystery are three women: a young painting prodigy, the seductive village schoolteacher and an old widow who watches over the village from a mill by the stream. All three of them share a secret. But what do they know about the discovery of Jerome Morval's corpse? And what is the connection to the mysterious Black Water Lilies, a rumoured masterpiece by Monet that has never been found...'This elegant crime mystery shimmers as delicately as the paintings of Claude Monet that lie at its heart ...A bestseller in France, it is a dazzling, unexpected and haunting masterpiece' Daily Mail An enchanting tale that kept me absolutely hooked as Bussi cleverly breaks all the perceived rules of plotting in a story containing riddles within riddles . ..stunning' Daily Express


'A work of genius befitting the masterpiece by Monet at its heart ... Simply stunning' DAILY EXPRESS

'A bestseller in France, it is a dazzling, unexpected and haunting masterpiece' DAILY MAIL

'Bussi's portrait of the difficulties of investigating a closed community is fascinating, and the novel ends with one of the most reverberating shocks in modern crime fiction.' SUNDAY TIMES

'Murder always seems especially appalling against a beautiful backdrop, which is why Michel Bussi's novel begins to strikingly' SUNDAY EXPRESS

'enjoyment of this intelligent and absorbing book need not be confined to Monetists' THE TIMES

'A work of genius befitting the masterpiece by Monet at its heart. The award-winning author weaves an enchanting tale that kept me absolutely hooked as Bussi cleverly breaks all the perceived rules of plotting in a story containing riddles within riddles. It works on multiple levels and left me completely baffled, yearning to work out how the different strands connect. But every loose thread is meshed neatly together in the final pages until the jaw-dropping big reveal at the end. The result is simply stunning' DAILY EXPRESS

'A novel so extraordinary that it reminded me of reading Steig Larsson for the very first time ... Bussi breaks every rule in the book, but I doubt I'll read a more brilliant crime novel this year' Sunday Times on AFTER THE CRASH

'Thriller of the month Good Housekeeping on' AFTER THE CRASH

'A richly satisfying story...a hugely enjoyable ride.' Irish Independent on AFTER THE CRASH

About the Author

Michel Bussi

Michel Bussi is the author of the bestseller After the Crash. In France he has published eight bestselling thrillers and in 2013 alone, his books sold half a million copies in his native country. He has won fifteen literary awards, making him one of France's most prestigious crime authors. When not writing fiction, he is a Professor of Geography at the University of Rouen and a political commentator.

Author photo © Philippe Matsas

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Book Info

Publication date

9th March 2017


Michel Bussi

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Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co


368 pages


Crime / Mystery
Books of the Month
Books of the Year 2017
Thriller / Suspense
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups

Crime & mystery
Thriller / suspense
Fiction in translation



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