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Daniel Pennac: Monsieur Malaussène (Monsieur Malaussène)

More fun and games with the Malaussène family. Benjamin is no longer employed as a scapegoat – he takes nine months maternity (sic) leave as Julie, his significant other, is pregnant. But it is – inevitably – not long before the problems start. Some nasty person is killing prostitutes, removing their skin while they are still alive and filming it. The prostitutes have two things in common – they are under the protection of Sister Gervaise (a nun who is the daughter of the late Inspector Thian, who appeared in earlier books in this series and who, despite being a virgin, gets pregnant) and all have tattoos engraved by Gervaise. Of course, it inevitably gets more complicated, particularly as Pennac decides to use this book to pay homage to the cinema.

We start with the Malaussène family temporarily moving to the Zèbre cinema (whose façade temporarily disappears). They are joined by Clément, a young man with a promising future who gives it all up for the cinema. Julie has been left a huge collection of old films by Job and Liesl, an old couple coming to the end of their lives. They also bequeath The Film, a film Job has made which is unique and which he wants screened once and then destroyed. Unfortunately, the bad guys want the film as well. Is there a connection between The Film and the tattooed prostitutes? What do you think? And see if you can spot all Pennac’s cinematic references.

Publishing history

First published in French 1995 by Gallimard
Translated by Ian Monk