Welcome to Épineux-le-Rainsouin, a typical French village of yellow cement houses, PVC windows and roll-down shutters.
Here the local ladies observe all from behind their factory-made, crocheted curtains, and culture is defined by television game shows.
Here Lemasson Enterprises is constructing a new housing estate; the Malabry's intensive chicken farm is producing a record number of broilers; and Didier, the too handsome village employee is watering flowers, sweeping streets and maintaining order. And when Didier has had too much to drink at the local café, he goes looking for women to seduce.
Then Didier disappears. No one has seen him since Monday evening. Where could he be? Holed up with some woman, probably.
But Didier hasn't gone anywhere. On Friday his body is discovered; he has been electrocuted in his bath by a hair dryer. Suicide? Impossible. Didier had everything to live for.
What people are saying about Death by Slanderous Tongue
Not simply a mystery (though the author introduces several nicely-placed red herrings), Slanderous Tongue is an insightful study of the manners and mores of the inhabitants of a small town . Focusing first on the physical changes in village life over decades … she turns her attention to intensive farming techniques and their impact on the environment, and the inhumane treatment of the animals that most of us rely on for food. Although she is occasionally preachy, Culiner is not wrong; and although she has an unhurried approach to the telling of her tale, when she gets where she’s going the reader comes away both informed and entertained.
Jim Napier, The Sherbrooke Record
There seem to be two ways of writing about French life : cuddly reportage based on village life and local wines, less cuddly fiction based on village life and local cuisine. Your villagers never stop being cuddly and never stop eating and drinking. Now along comes Jill Culiner. No cuddles, very little food and what wines are consumed seem to curdle in the mouth. If you love France enough to recognise it has a seamy side, an underbelly – you’ll face this book with jaunty anticipation. David Blake, French News
Slanderous Tongue is both a delightful mystery and a thought-provoking examination of the old literary adage - man versus nature. Kindah Mardham Bey, Lucid Forge
Culiner has invented a locale so rich in color and dramatic possibilities that it merits many a return visit. Edward Morris, ForeWord Magazine