New thriller by the author duo Klüpfel and Kobr – Munich

The Allgäu is undoubtedly a beautiful region. But sometimes a change is good. This also applies to the best-known author duo in this region: After twelve crime novels, Volker Klüpfel and Michael Kobr have invented a new series hero in Inspector Kluftinger. In contrast to the always grumbling cheese spaetzle fan, Guillaume Lipaire prefers to avoid the police because of various scams. And in “The Incorrigibles – The Big Coup of Monsieur Lipaire” he doesn’t pull off his big coup in Kempten, but in the southern French lagoon town of Port Grimaud.

The holiday complex near Saint-Tropez was built on drained marshland in the 1960s according to plans by the architect François Spoerry. Mostly the rich and the beautiful vacation there. It’s a good thing that the mid-sixties Lipaire supposedly looks like Alain Delon, because he’s definitely not rich. Wilhelm Liebherr, as he is actually called, watches over the numerous holiday homes and apartments in the town, “officially commissioned and paid for by the community of owners”.

In his opinion, one hardly notices that he is German. The locals see it differently, if only because the “Gardien” with the German accent is so exaggeratedly punctual. For his part, he sees nothing wrong with occasionally swiping a bottle of wine from the cellars of the houses entrusted to him, subletting the premises to other people during the absence of the owners or using their cars. Of course, also the stylish property of the noble Vicomte family. But during the cleaning – the owners are already approaching by sailing ship – there is suddenly a dead person in the house. Lipaire and his helper Karmin have no choice but to dispose of the corpse in the sea, which causes a number of difficulties and complications.

The author duo also makes fun of themselves a bit

The Vicomtes come to Port Grimaud to receive a blackmailer. But he is a long time coming, which strains the patience of the not very harmonious family. Incidentally, one of the sons successfully writes crime novels, so, as Lipaire finds, “the bottom line is that he can’t do anything” – there isn’t a novel by the author duo in which they don’t poke fun at themselves a bit.

Lipaire soon believes he is on the trail of a treasure worth millions; however, the mystery that needs to be solved and that has to do with the founder of Port Grimaud is giving him a hard time. Since he prefers to delegate work to doing it himself anyway, he gathers a colorful group of fellow detectives around him, albeit not entirely voluntarily: the water taxi driver Karim Petitbon, who is in love with the studying ice cream seller Jacqueline, the Belgian ex-foreign legionnaire Paul, the has a secret in common with Lipaire, Delphine, who runs the local cell phone shop, and 84-year-old Lizzy Schindler with her poodle Louis, who likes to reminisce about her lovers. As is always the case with Klüpfel und Kobr, the idiosyncratic secondary characters are also drawn with great attention to detail, they add the right spice to the amusing comedy of crooks, told with verve and wit. As far as location and landscape are concerned, the authors stick to reality.

Of course, everything becomes clear in the end. It is not surprising that Lipaire does not have great wealth and that he easily gets over it. By the way, there is also a real commissioner, the slightly wrinkled “commissaire Marcel”. But nobody takes him seriously, it’s “just the police”.

Volker Klüpfel & Michael Kobr: The incorrigible – The great coup of Monsieur Lipaire, Ullstein Verlag, 496 pages, 24.99 euros.

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