The Widow Lerouge

The Widow Lerouge

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3
(1 Review)
The Widow Lerouge by Emile Gaboriau

Published:

1866

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The Widow Lerouge

By

3
(1 Review)
A translation of L'affaire Lerouge.

Book Excerpt

ooper who lives hard by, alighted from the omnibus which leaves Marly every hour, when they perceived the widow in the cross-road, and hastened to overtake her. They conversed with her and only left her when they reached the door of her own house."

"And what had she in her basket?" asked the investigating magistrate.

"The witnesses cannot say. They only know that she carried two sealed bottles of wine, and another of brandy. She complained to them of headache, and said, 'Though it is customary to enjoy oneself on Shrove Tuesday, I am going to bed.'"

"So, so!" exclaimed the chief of detective police. "I know where to search!"

"You think so?" inquired M. Daburon.

"Why, it is clear enough. We must find the tall sunburnt man, the gallant in the blouse. The brandy and the wine were intended for his entertainment. The widow expected him to supper. He came, sure enough, the amiable gallant!"

"Oh!" cried the corporal of gendarmes, evidently scandalised, "she was very old, and

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A fairly enjoyable and readable mystery, but not perfect. First of all, while this is described as being a Monsieur Lecoq story, it really isn't. Lecoq makes a brief appearance, but the real detectives are Magistrate Daburon, and a M. Tabaret. And Tabaret is rather an eccentric detective, while Daburon is a more plodding type thrown into a personal drama by the case.

As a detective story, it starts out with quite a bang. The murder is discovered, and the police start straightaway into investigating. M. Tabaret is called in (by LeCoq) and performs some nice deductive work about the crime and the murderer, similar to, but pre-dating Sherlock Holmes' deductive reasoning.

And then, a couple of Incredible Coincidences show up, one relating to Tabaret, and another relating to Daburon, and the book seems to turn into a romance or even a psychological drama, with little further detective work occurring. It's still interesting reading, but simply of a different kind.

Nonetheless, there is a surprising twist to the murder and murderer, and the astute reader might well guess the twist, buried as it is in the romantic drama, although evidence for it only turns up near the end of the novel.

All in all, a fairly readable and enjoyable story, but a bit slight on the detective front, in spite of its strong opening.