Manotti, Dominique 1942–

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Manotti, Dominique 1942–

PERSONAL:

Born 1942, in Paris, France.

ADDRESSES:

E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Economic historian and writer.

WRITINGS:

Sombre sentier, Seuil (Paris, France), 1995, published in English as Rough Trade, translated by Margaret Crosland and Elfreda Powell, Arcadia Books (London, England), 2001.

A nos chevaux!, Rivages (Paris, France), 1997, published in English as Dead Horsemeat, translated by Amanda Hopkinson and Ros Schwartz, Arcadia Books (London, England), 2007.

Kop, Rivages (Paris, France), 1998.

Nos fantastiques années fric, Rivages (Paris, France), 2001.

Le corps noir, Seuil (Paris, France), 2004.

Lorraine Connection, Rivages (Paris, France), 2006, published in English with the same title, translated by Amanda Hopkinson and Ros Schwartz, Arcadia Books (London, England), 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

Dominique Manotti is a French economic historian and writer. She is the author of novels such as Sombre sentier (translated into English as Rough Trade), A nos chevaux! (translated into English as Dead Horsemeat), Kop, and Lorraine Connection. Her first novel, Rough Trade, tells the story of illegal Turkish immigrants in the Sentier neighborhood of Paris, and of their fight to gain legal status. The movement is led by a man named Soleiman. The plot takes place over the course of a month, and each chapter represents one day in that month. When a Thai girl is murdered, Inspector Daquin begins to investigate, uncovering a large web of organized crime in the process. Daquin and Soleiman have an affair, and although they are using each other for information at first, the two begin to genuinely care for one another. Reviews of the book were predominantly positive, and Euro Crime critic Maxine Clarke called Rough Trade "an excellent crime novel." Clarke concluded: "It is written in an unfalteringly assured style…. The overlapping mysteries are realistically conveyed and the outcomes believable, the characterisation is strong, and there is real emotion in some of the stories, moving and tragic, that are played out in the pages."

Dead Horsemeat is another police procedural, this time centered on racehorses. Daquin, now a superintendent, reappears as he investigates the link between the deaths of informant Paola and advertising executive Nicolas Berger. While the two appear to have nothing in common, their deaths are connected to a horseracing track, and there have been numerous fires in the stables that have also caused the deaths of several valuable thoroughbreds. The novel is set in 1989, and the Berlin Wall enters into the plot, as do drug trafficking and a dead gypsy cocaine dealer named Dimitri Rouma. As it turns out, several of the key figures in the novel all worked together in 1968, and their connections may prove to be deadly. Like Rough Trade, Dead Horsemeat received laudatory reviews. For instance, New Internationalist writers Louise Gray, Malcolm Lewis, Peter Whittaker, and Jess Worth called the book "an atmospheric and astute political thriller that delves beneath the surface," adding that "it is a humane and thoughtful novel by a writer gleefully hitting her stride." Although a Kirkus Reviews critic faulted the translation for containing "prose clipped within an inch of its life," they nevertheless found that the book "provides truly labyrinthine skullduggery and a furious pace."

Published in English in 2008, Lorraine Connection portrays the workers of a Daewoo factory as they strike following the fatality of one of the workers and the news that annual bonuses will be withheld. During the strike, the factory is destroyed, and Daewoo blames the strike leader, Noureddine. In the meantime, Daewoo is attempting to purchase another company. Daewoo's competitors hire private investigator Montoya in an attempt to find out what really happened at the factory and to stop Daewoo from acquiring the new company. Reviewers found that the book contained much of value. Glen Harper, writing in International Noir Fiction, stated that Manotti's "analysis is pessimistic without giving up, paranoid without tipping over into conspiracy theories." Harper added: "I'm a big fan of her police novels, but Lorraine Connection is more powerful, more disturbing, and even … more absorbing." Another positive assessment was proffered by Euro Crime critic Laura Root, who called the novel "a sharp social commentary." Root concluded: "This thriller is an unusual, stylish and compelling read which I would highly recommend."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Bookseller, February 2, 2007, "Reading for Pleasure: Pluto Press' M.D. Devoured Dead Horsemeat by Dominique Manotti," p. 22.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007, review of Dead Horsemeat.

New Internationalist, March 1, 2007, Louise Gray, Malcolm Lewis, Peter Whittaker, and Jess Worth, review of Dead Horsemeat, p. 29.

ONLINE

Dominique Manotti Home Page,http://www.dominiquemanotti.com (June 15, 2008).

Euro Crime,http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/ (June 15, 2008), Maxine Clarke, review of Rough Trade; Laura Root, review of Lorraine Connection.

International Noir Fiction,http://internationalnoir.blogspot.com/ (February 29, 2008), Glen Harper, review of Lorraine Connection.