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The Murdered House: A Mystery
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The Murdered House: A Mystery (Séraphin Monge #1)

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  211 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
From one of Frances's leading crime writers, whose The Messengers of Death was named a Publishers Weekly Best Mystery of 2008, comes this exceptional classic mystery which was once singled out as being France's Best Novel of the Year

At the turn of the century, in a remote inn in Upper Provence, a family is violently massacred. The sole survivor of the tragedy is a three-we
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published 1984)
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Oct 11, 2010 Garrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 18, 2017 Joan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seraphim, a haunted, tortured soul allowing his past to deny him a future and a normal happy life. Growing up an orphan and returning from the war with no idea of his past he is told a version of the 'truth' and of the death of his family. He sets out to obliterate his past but as more 'truths' are revealed revenge now drives him. A powerful, suspenseful tale and in many ways very sad. More unexplained deaths before he finally hears the truth and finds release from his pain.
Mar 02, 2010 Ulysses rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-reread
As the Dos Equis Guy might say, “I don’t often read mysteries, but when I do, I prefer Pierre Magnan.” This is almost entirely thanks to the locale in which Magnan’s novels are set, early-to-mid-20th-century Provence, which he renders as a 50-50 combination of a picturesque rural storybook come to life, and a forgotten backwater populated since time immemorial by eccentric, inscrutable farmers and villagers who regularly do away with each other in the night, via a limitless variety of ingenious ...more
Urenna Sander
Aug 27, 2013 Urenna Sander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pierre Magnan’s novel, “The Murdered House,” is set in Provence, at the turn of the nineteenth century, in 1896.
At three-weeks old, Seraphin Monge, is the sole survivor of the cold-blooded massacre of his family. His parents, grandfather, and two brothers were murdered in their home on the eve of Saint Michael’s Day, September 28.
In 1920, two years after World War I, Seraphin returned home. He discovered that during his infancy, his family’s land was sold, but the house remained. He also discove
There is a lot that I liked about this book. Not your traditional "crime story" it's probably best to flag it as a mystery. The mystery builds right from the start with the brutal massacre of an entire family - except for one. When that one orphan, now a man home from the war, returns to his family home, his agony and pain, left alone in the world, is beautifully illustrated in his manual, slow, stone by stone destruction of the house in which is family died; as is his planning of vengeance on t ...more
Doug Beatty
Jun 20, 2011 Doug Beatty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This was a very strange novel, the story of Seraphim Monge, who as a baby was left in a crib while his family was massacred around him. 25 years later (now it is 1919) he is finally told the story of how he was found and is given the key to his family home, a home that was never sold because of the massacre. Three men were caught and hung for the murders, but it is later revealed that they might not actually be guilty. Seraphim sets upon destroying the house, and while doing so, uncovers the ide ...more
What a waste of my time. I carried this book around so long it became a weight. However, a greater weight is laid upon the unsuspecting reader who perseveres to the end. A final, epilogue sort of chapter is tacked on at the book's end. It explains nothing. In fact, it so veers off course that you feel as though you've been pushed off a cliff. Had I known my perseverance would be so assaulted, I never would have bothered picking up this thing.

It's off kilter, written in the style of Jean de Flore
Jan 09, 2010 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The language is odd (though grammatical) at first, and I don't know if it's the translation, or if the original language is as odd. This isn't a mystery where you have a body, and the detective finds the culprit. Instead, there's a family massacre w/ an 18-day-old survivor, and 25 years later the survivor comes back, is haunted and so he dismantles the house. He discovers who he thinks are the 3 murderers, but before he can take his revenge, someone very cleverly starts murdering them 1st.
Apr 12, 2015 Gideon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, what an amazing story! I'm normally a slow reader but I finished this within the week! I so want to be Seraphin Monge's friend now, and help him have a good life now this is over! Also loved the descriptions of the Hautes-Alpes area, and now want to visit La Durance valley! This story is going to stay in my head for a long time!
Sep 06, 2011 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime
High gothic, verging on the camp, tale of murder and revenge in the Provence. A young man returns to his ancestral village to take revenge on those who killed his family 24 years earlier. Some of the authors flights are giggle worthy especially as the author seems to be completly serious, but once you strip that away there is a nugget of a good story with some great twists.
Jan 08, 2010 Nicole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably really lame, but I couldn't get used to the names so I stopped reading it. I didn't get past the first chapter.
Aug 03, 2013 Leni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first visit to the world of Pierre Magnan, and I am not sure I will search him out but I will read another if it drops in my lap. There are plenty of wonderful descriptions of the story so I will just add my two cents. The language is lovely. It is flowing, evocative and you can fee the heaviness of time as reflected by the writing. The hero (?) seems to be a symbol more than a real person and none of the characters are particularly flushed out which adds to the allegorical sense, but ...more
Jim Coughenour
A perfect book for a rainy winter night – or not. This muddled mystery won several prizes in France when it was published in the early 80s, and Publishers Weekly named it as one of their 10 Best Mysteries of 2008; it was also touted on some crime fiction blog that persuaded me to order it.

I was intrigued, sometimes titillated by its necrophiliac eroticism, but any seasoned mystery reader will guess the identity of the shadowed stranger behind the crimes. I enjoyed the evocative Jean De Florette
Jul 12, 2014 Jaret rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was really weird and sometimes hard to follow. I'm not sure if this was due to being translated from French or the fact that the author was trying to write a more psychological thriller. The story focused on the psychological makeup of Seraphin Monge--his need for revenge, his sexual obsession with his dead mother, his lack of connection with other humans, etc. This plotline had its ups and downs because it dragged at some points. This would have been fine (and earned 3 stars) except f ...more
Mar 22, 2016 Lesley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was fascinated at first by this thriller from Pierre Mangan who has recently died. Many of the descriptions of the countryside and village life were superb. However, the story itself was weak. A terrible crime, only one survivor. He tried "Seraphim- the avenging angel" to avenge the death of his mother, about whom he has terrifying dreams. But someone keeps getting there first.

He is pursued by two young beauties of the village, Marie and Rose. The language is often hard work and overblown.
I love gothic. I love secrets buried in the walls. I love mysteries at the bottom of old wells. I especially love when everything comes together and makes sense in the end. THAT was the one thing The Murdered House lacked. I mean, it made enough had that uniquely little French twist of "What the hell just happened?" The literary equivalent of a mime chasing a red balloon across the last frame of a film and you're supposed to infer deep meaning from it.
Shandi Leonard
This book kind of lost me. I couldn't get into it in the beginning but it did get better. It was a good store line but there was so much going on that its hard to follow sometimes. The ending...completely lost! Don't know what was going on there...would I read another of his books...maybe...just to see if it is any different/better
Alan Pottinger
Lots of people seemed rather unimpressed by this book but I loved it, the truth only finely being prised out at the very end - ok the last chapter was a little strange but the air of mystery was kept woven into the whole of the book. I shall certainly be reading more by him.
Nicolás Castañeda
Interesting plot but I couldn't enjoy the reading because of the author's prose. There is unlikely attachment between the characters and finally, arguments are ephemeral and the author leaves too many aspects to chance.
Mar 15, 2015 Kyra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting and beautifully written novel. And, oh, so very French. As in the mechanics of the case matter not one iota as much as the emotions involved. I had figured out whodunnit by page 30, but I kept on reading because the burning question was not WHO but WHY. Enjoy.
Oct 20, 2010 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-finished
Supposedly won a Best Novel of the Year award in France. I guess you have to be French to appreciate it or maybe it is an awkward translation. In any case, while there was plenty of ambiance and plot potential, I didn't like the main character and quit halfway through.
I would not recommend this book. If you could read it in the French language I think you would enjoy it. It loses something in the translation.
Feb 08, 2013 Tracy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was slow to start. And I didn't understand the ending. I will be thinking of that for awhile, which might have been the author's intent.
I was given this book by Lee who said she wanted me to read it and tell her what I thought of the ending so I will give it a try.
Andrea Wren-hardin
How did this book win the novel of the year award in France? Maybe I'll blame the translation. I wish I could still read in French, then I could compare.
Michael crage
It really was not very interesting or well written. The only reason I finished it is that I have nothing else checked out of the library at this time.
Dorte rated it liked it
Apr 22, 2010
Heather Engqvist
Mar 22, 2016 Heather Engqvist rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable
Summer Gotschall
Summer Gotschall rated it really liked it
Sep 19, 2011
Elsa rated it it was ok
Jul 14, 2012
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Pierre Magnan was a bestselling French author of detective novels steeped in the sights and sounds of his beloved Provence; to readers, his sleuth, Commissaire Laviolette, was as indelibly linked to the land of lavender as Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse was to the colleges of Oxford.

Magnan’s autumnal years were prolific; he wrote more than 30 books and saw his novels adapted for French television
More about Pierre Magnan...

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