Review :: Miss Pas Touche vol. 1

A review of Hubert & Kerascoët’s Miss Pas Touche tome 1

SUMMARY
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Paris in the thirties. The ‘Butcher of the Dances’ is on the prowl for young loose women. Blanche works as a maid along with the only family she knows, her sister, fun-loving Agatha. Suddenly, Blanche loses her to what she saw was murder but others only write off as suicide. She decides to take matters into her own hands. In her pursuit, she ends up a servant in a luxury house of call-girls. She even becomes quite good at certain lascivious practices while still remaining a virgin! But she also doesn’t lose sight of her goal: find the Butcher. A suspenseful spicy tale as only the French could so lightly get away with, yet deceptive in its depth and realism.”

(“Miss Don’t Touche Me” in English)
Writer: Hubert
Illustrators: Kerascoët
Translator (for English edition): Joe Johnson

• • •

Although I read this in French, the entire four book series has been translated into English as well (and probably other languages too).

Not as intimidating to read in the original French as I’d thought it would be, I really enjoyed this story! It was more engaging than I was expecting and I felt really involved when reading. Some parts were really funny, other parts were enjoyably unexpected and overall it was just a really fun reading experience. A lot happens in this book, but the pacing doesn’t feel rushed.
The story follows our frigid heroine, a “prudish” virgin, who is delves into the seedy world of prostitution to discover (and, presumably, turn in) her sister’s killers. The trail leads her to a brothel…

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There are a lot of different types of odd and interesting characters (as one would expect in a classy Parisian brothel in the 1920s, I guess). I’ve seen some people say that Josephine Baker is featured as one of the women in the brothel, but that is not the case. She’s a black transwoman who goes by the name “Miss Josephine” and dresses like Joséphine Baker, but it is clearly not the same person. This could be seen as a homage to Baker, but I took it more as a representation of the different sexual tastes for which the brothel caters. The fact that she is in high demand could also be seen as commentary on how black women are often hyper-sexualised and seen as exotic and other things besides.. But I liked that she wasn’t an oddity amongst the other women in the brothel and, in fact, she was practically revered: “The jewel” of the brother, worth more than all the others.
le bordel
The illustrations are really lively and expressive with colours that give a lot of ambience to the scenes. Even though I needed to look up words sometimes, I had a lot of fun reading this comic in French and I’m really eager to read the second volume in French too!

• • •

I actually attempted to review it in French too:

Comme je l’ai lu en français (pour améliorer ma compétence de la lecture), je vais essayer d’écrire mon avis en français! Pardonnez mes erreurs…(sans doute il y aura beaucoup).

Le meurtre, le sexe, la violence…J’adore cette bande dessinée! Je ne me suis pas attendue à ce que l’histoire soit tellement captivante (et parfois marrante)! C’est un mystère qui se déroule dans un bordel sophistiqué pendant la majeure partie de l’histoire. Beaucoup de choses se passent mais le rythme des événements n’est pas trop rapide.

Notre héroïne froide, une vierge pleine de vertus, se plonge dans un monde sordide pour découvrir (et, je suppose, emmener à la justice) les meurtriers de sa sœur! La piste mène au bordel, caché sous nos yeux…

Il y a une gamme de personnages bizarres et intéressants (comme on s’attend d’un bordel luxueux parisien des années trente, je suppose). J’ai vu que certaines personnes qui ont lu cette bande dessinée ont pensé que Joséphine Baker est illustrée comme une des femmes du bordel, mais ce n’est pas le cas. C’est une transsexuelle noire qui s’appelle « Mademoiselle Joséphine » et qui s’habille comme elle. On peut dire que c’est un hommage, mais je pense que ça fonctionne un peu plus comme un commentaire de gamme des goûts sexuels que le bordel satisfait. Pourtant, ce n’est pas une bizarrerie parmi les autres femmes. En fait, elle est presque vénérée : « le fleuron » du bordel qui vaut plus que toutes les autres.

Les dessins sont vraiment vifs et expressifs avec des couleurs qui donnent beaucoup d’ambiance. Bien que j’aie eu besoin de chercher des mots parfois, je me suis amusée en lisant cette BD en français et j’ai hâte également de lire le prochain tome en français!

 

rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
genre: graphic novel/bandes dessinée, mystery, crime, (a pinch of) humour
publisher: Poisson Pilote
source: Waterstones Marketplace
date read: 17 July 2016
recommend for: mystery fans, fans of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and the like
pros: engaging story and style, very fun and fast-paced
cons: there are one or two slightly uncomfortable panels (re: sexual harassment) but nothing overly graphic despite the regular nudity, depictions of sexy and (very occasional) mildly bloody scenes


Nikki

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One Response to Review :: Miss Pas Touche vol. 1

  1. Pingback: Claire x Nikki Review July 2016 | Bitches With Books

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