The Mysterious Bookshop

Garnier, Pascal, The Islanders

At the outset of this offbeat comedy of errors from Garnier (How’s the Pain?), Olivier Verdier travels from Paris to Versailles, where his estranged mother has died a few days before Christmas. In Versailles, Olivier’s path crosses those of three very different people: Roland Toutin, a homeless man seeking shelter and food; Rodolphe Mangin, a blind man who still enjoys visiting the Louvre; and Rodolphe’s sister, Jeanne, a teacher beaten down by years of looking after him. It turns out that Jeanne and Rodolphe live across the hall from Olivier’s late mother, and that Olivier and Jeanne share a secret. Decades earlier, when they were teenagers, the pair were suspected of kidnapping and murdering a two-year-old boy whom Jeanne babysat. With severely cold weather delaying his mother’s burial, Olivier must remain in her apartment for several days, a development that leads to unexpected complications. Readers who appreciate the gallows humor of Hitchcock’s The Trouble with Harry will be pleased.