Black Water Lilies: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

This imaginative story takes us into the heart of Monet’s Giverny where three women lived with their passions and sorrows.  Two would perish, only one would survive.  The first, our narrator is an elderly woman, accompanied by her beloved German Shepard, Neptune.  The second, Stephanie, is a teacher, sensual and beautiful, at the peak of young life but unfulfilled.  The third, Fanette, is only a child, but a child with an awesome talent and the promise of an exciting career as an artist. 

The murder of a prominent man in the community confounds the police with a vexing puzzle. Jerome Morval, collector of art and women, was found in the stream feeding Monet’s garden.  His death was excessive; stabbed, battered with a rock, and drowned.  Inspector Laurenc Serenac and Inspector Silvio Benavides agree the case is complicated but employ different methods in trying to untangle the threads of the crime, Silvio painstakingly accumulating evidence and Laurenc focusing on the people, especially the attractive young teacher.

Was the murder the result of Morval’s philandering ways?  Or did it have something to do with the Water Lilly paintings by Monet he coveted? Little do they know the answer and danger may be within the secrets held tight by three women.

Art lovers will be delighted by this intimate look at Giverny and the paintings of the Impressionists.


— Deon Stonehouse


From the author of the "wonderfully ingenious" (Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review) novel After the Crash, a thrilling tale of a murder that takes place in Claude Monet's garden and the mystery that surrounds it.

Giverny, France. During the day, the town is the home of the famous artist Claude Monet and the gardens where he painted his Water Lilies. But once the tourists have gone, there is a darker side to the peaceful French village.

This is the story of thirteen days that begin with one murder and end with another. Jéme Morval, a man whose passion for art was matched only by his passion for women, has been found dead in the stream that runs through the gardens. In his pocket is a postcard of Monet's Water Lilies with the words: Eleven years old. Happy Birthday.

Entangled in the mystery are three women: a young painting prodigy, the seductive village schoolteacher, and an old widow who watches over the village from a mill by the stream. All three of them share a secret. But what do they know about the discovery of Jéme Morval's corpse? And what is the connection to the mysterious, rumored painting of Black Water Lilies?

About the Author

Michel Bussi is the author of Black Water Lilies and After the Crash and is one of France's most celebrated crime authors. The winner of more than fifteen major literary awards, he is a professor of geography at the University of Rouen and a political commentator.

Praise For…

"Bussi's portrait of the difficulties of investigating a closed community
is fascinating, and the novel ends with one of the most reverberating
shocks in modern crime fiction."
The Sunday Times (UK)

"[A] dazzling, unexpected, and haunting masterpiece."
The Daily Mail (UK)

"Murder always seems especially appalling against a beautiful backdrop,
which is why Michel Bussi's novel begins to strikingly.... A good deal
of eccentric Gallic charm."
Sunday Express (UK)

"A work of genius befitting the masterpiece by Monet at its heart.... Bussi cleverly breaks all the perceived rules of plotting in a story
containing riddles within riddles.... But every loose thread is meshed neatly together in the final pages until the jaw-dropping
big reveal at the end. The result is simply stunning."
Daily Express (UK)

plot is set in Giverny, where Monet planted and painted water lilies. It's
where the characters live, the murders are committed, the clues are scattered,
and the police investigate ... [an] intelligent and absorbing book."
The Times (UK)


"Riveting! Bussi spins psychological suspense at its finest with this consuming tale of one child, two families, and the dark secrets that define us all. Clear your schedule; this book is worth it!"—Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Crash & Burn and Find Her

"After the Crash is a jolt to the senses and a jolt to the heart--both rollicking and labyrinthine, both wildly propulsive and yet rich with grand drama, and with a cast of characters--particularly its sumptuously powerful women--you won't forget."—Megan Abbott, author of The Fever and the forthcoming You Will Know Me

"Wonderfully ingenious and altogether satisfying."
Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

"After the Crash opens with a wrenching scene that will serve as the mystery's terrifically compelling central conceit....sit back and go along for the ride....Bussi's tucked a lot of enjoyable - and enjoyably surprising - pieces into his puzzle."—Boston Globe

"This fascinating tale of intrigue and murder delves into complicated
family bonds as it builds to a surprising and shocking conclusion."
Publishers Weekly

"Fast-paced and action-packed, this thriller is
adrenaline pumping. Bussi offers a smart, complex mystery with plenty of
plausible twists and surprises ... An engrossing story that's almost
impossible to put down."
Shelf Awareness
Product Details
ISBN: 9780316504997
ISBN-10: 0316504998
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication Date: February 7th, 2017
Pages: 432
Language: English