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Hannelore Cayre Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Godmother (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Inheritors (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Hannelore Cayre is a literary fiction author best known for her first translated English novel “The Godmother.” She had always wanted to become an author and published her first work “Duty Counsel” in 2009 to critical acclaim. The novel was also made into a film in 2009. She published “The Godmother,” a striking little oddity in 2017 and the novels went on to become a bestselling novel that won several awards including the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière and the European Crime Fiction Prize. The novel was later adapted into a movie titled “Mama Weed,” starring renowned French actress Isabelle Huppert. Apart from writing, she is also a film director and a practicing criminal lawyer that knows both the legal and illegal side of the law. Her novel “The Godmother” had been described as “Weeds” meets “Breaking Bad” with a suburban twist.

Before she became a film director and author, Hannelore Cayre took a very traditional career path as she went to college to study law and specialized in artistic and literary property. In her day job, she protects intellectual property whether they be graphic, visual, written, or musical, and ensures that the rights of the author are protected. Wearing her attorney’s robes, she has worked in an office and on television, which is where she met the man that would later become her husband. She went on to marry the man and soon learned his specialization too as she plunged into the world of criminal law. Cayre came to discover a world where cruelty has no pity, violence has no boundaries and human passions have no limits. To learn more about her new line of law she set about learning about the specialization reading everything she could find on criminal law. She threw herself into a French publication and during this time studied just like someone revising for a high school exam. She learned about a word peopled by villains and outcasts, misfits excluded from society.

Unlike many novels in the crime fiction genre that fit neatly into one category or another, Cayre’s works defy such easy categorization. Her novels, especially “The Godmother” are witty noir crime /social drama novels set in modern-day cities and center on ordinary working-class people. When it came out, the award-winning novel The Godmother became an instant hit across Europe that it had to be translated into English. Cayre remains true to her style as the novel is full of edgy cynicism sprinkled with dark humor. She writes on themes of alienation, stereotyping and racism using irony and sarcasm to make for a beautiful explication of modern-day French city society. One clear thing is that the author set out to write about an underrepresented category of crime fiction in “older women behaving badly.” She criticizes authority and the system while writing in a surreal tone that always remains plausible. Cayre writes novels that are as barbed as they are insightful. For instance, Patience the lead of her novel “The Godmother” is a mild-mannered civil servant whose reasons for going rogue are well explained. Even though she goes on to become a leading drug dealer, her motivations for doing so draw empathy even if they are not easy to understand. The novel is a brilliant novel that captures the twenty-first-century dilemma that Europe has to deal with as it awakens to a diverse and cosmopolitan makeup.

Hannelore Cayre got the inspiration for her debut novel “The Godmother” while she was on a vacation in Brittany. Over three months, she sat on a French beach and as her children played on the sands, she penned the plot for what would become her bestselling novel. Given her background in criminal law, she decided to make it about a lawyer that breaks the law to become a huge criminal mastermind. With her inside knowledge of the legal process in France, she had a lot of information to play with in the writing of the novel. She had little tidbits including how inmates could communicate with their fellow criminals, family, and friends on the outside without the authorities listening in. She had descriptions of how to use everything from how to set up PlayStation and phones so that they could make segregated and undetectable calls and how these plans sometimes went haywire.

“The Godmother” novel by Hannelore Cayre that inspired “Mama Weed” the motion picture is a translation of “Daronne” the award-winning novel that was initially published in French. The lead is a fifty-three-year-old woman named Patience Portefeux who works as a French Arab interpreter for the Justice ministry. She is an expert at wiretapping though she is grossly underpaid. When her husband died suddenly and left her a widow, she found herself having to take care of nursing home expenses for her mother and pay the fees for her teenage daughters in university. She happens to stumble on several wiretaps before anyone else and she makes a life-changing move. She infiltrates and intervenes in the plans of a huge drug deal. In doing so, she suddenly becomes a completely different person – she is now “The Godmother.” This is not the idyllic France of stock photos and postcards but rather a gallery of politicians, traffickers, police officers, and dealers. Patienc The Godmother casts a long shadow and a gaze that is sometimes amusing and sometimes sharp. The lead is an unforgettable woman and through her story the author showcases the criminal underground of France that is rarely seen.

“The Inheritors” is the story of Blanche de Rigny, a woman that had been deceased for a few days only to wake up very rich. She always thought of herself as the family’s black sheep which is weird given that she is on crutches. But then it is discovered that her family has relatives that nobody knew existed with many of them not the best of people. As she learns about the healthy inheritance left to her by some of these relatives, she makes the decision to prune the most despicable of them. But as is usual with wealth, she now has to bear great responsibility as well. She is expected to use some of her money to help cure the ills in her community. The story spans two centuries and is set in the city of Paris just before the Franco Prussian war and runs up to contemporary times. It is a beautiful story that lays bare the toxic and obstinate injustice of disparities in society. Hannelore Cayre writes with her usual devilish creativity and sardonic humor to make for a great story.

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