The swine are restless in this blast from the 1970s, and several hippies are missing.
Shrewd Commissaire Laviolette arrives in the little village of Banon in Upper Provence to conduct an investigation into some passing strange goings-on. Truffles are Banon’s main industry. Aside from truffle farmers and their pigs, the other leading citizens are social dropouts who’ve set up a commune. Farmer Alyre Morelon suspects members of the commune of harming his prize sow Roseline, who had deviated from her truffle-routing routine to sniff out unusual byways. Meanwhile, while stranded in Banon, a wealthy young woman kills her brother Jeremy with a wrench as he’s changing their flat tire. Later, she watches in horror as a dark figure drags his body away. When Roseline and several of the hippies turn up missing and/or dead, the charismatic Laviolette—in his fourth outing, though his first translated into English—arrives to sort out the truth. The tale deliciously rambles among quirky members of the populace and often macabre aspects of the case, punctuated by Laviolette’s droll conversations with his old friend the Marquis des Brèdes, who becomes an unexpected victim.
Magnan (Beyond the Grave, 2002, etc.) supplies enough plot twists and sharp shafts of wit to add up to smartly sublime entertainment.