by Jill Culiner
Death by Slanderous Tongue
Club Lighthouse Publishing
Epineux-le-Rainsouin is a village where so little happens that washing a window is important enough to excite the local gossip. When Didier Blot, the village employee, disappears, rumours about his sexual excesses as well as his environmental activism begin to circulate. Ironic and with much humorous dialogue, Slanderous Tongue can be recommended to all who love a good mystery. But the book also underlines the destruction of rural France in the name of profit.
Clues for the narrator to process virtually cascade from Epineux-le-Rainsoun’s streets, gardens, ancient passageways, garishly refurbished houses, and the crones who peer out from their windows, shaking their heads in disgust.
Culiner has invented a locale so rich in color and dramatic possibilities that it merits many a return visit.
EDWARD MORRIS, ForeWord Magazine
This is a clever puzzle-plot story, set in a backwater of rural France. And as escape reading, it's a gem.
MARGARET CANNON, The Globe and Mail
SLANDEROUS TONGUE is a peek at what is happening to change the world we know into an evil place. As people toss the "old ways" to the wind and embrace the change without questioning the results, we find our world diminishing.
Culiner doesn't make us happy, but she certainly is a wizard at making us think. A stunning tale.
SHELLEY GLODOWSKI, MBR Bookwatch
The reader gets a good sense of the protagonist’s growing exasperation with
both the people of the town and her fickle lover. Her growing disillusionment
with her role as a mistress is brilliantly written, as is the author’s argument that a small town serves simply as a microcosm of the larger world.
SLANDEROUS TONGUE is thoughtfully written to depict the changes wrought on local culture by society’s drive towards modernism, and is the kind of mystery one can only find coming from an independent publisher with the character and credentials of Canada’s Sumach Press. I highly recommend this book for discriminating readers of mystery fiction.
MARY V. WELK, Reviewing the Evidence
This week’s pick manages to combine a murder mystery with a penetrating look
at the many ways in which a traditional culture has changed in recent decades, and the impact these changes have had on people’s lives. It is a literate and charming tale that will both amuse and enlighten readers of all ages.
Focusing first on the physical changes in village life over decades, and their disruptive effects on social patterns, she turns her attention to intensive farming techniques and their impact on the environment, and concludes with a critique of our wilful ignorance of the inhumane treatment of the animals that most of us rely on for food.
Although Culiner may be guilty of romanticising the past, she nonetheless
paints the present as it is, warts and all.
JIM NAPIER, The Sherbrooke Record
Culiner has written a delightful novel packed with self-serving, quirky villagers fuelled by sexual peccadilloes, environmental activism and murder.first-person style is catchy.
You feel like you're leaning over the back fence involved in a time that transcends cultures and age - gossiping about the folks next door
highlighted by tales of late-night visitors, sex and occasionally on how neighbours earn their money.
DON GRAVES, The Hamilton Spectator
Culiner is an intelligent author filling her pages with literary references, like literate morsels left around for the reader to unearth.
The characters are inventive and yet grounded in human truths; the writing is witty and begs to be read over and over again; the story is pristine and poignant. In and of itself,
Slanderous Tongue is an interesting read, but it is Culiner’s trademark style that makes the story substantial and robust with detail.
KINDAH MARDAM BEY, Lucid Forge