Graphic Novel Review: Fog Over Tolbiac Bridge (A Nestor Burma Mystery)
Posted on February 21, 2019 at 10:42 am by Gene Ambaum
Fog Over Tolbiac Bridge (A Nestor Burma Mystery) by Léo Malet and Jacques Tardi. Translator: Kim Thompson. Fantagraphics, 2017. 9781606997055.
Detective Nestor Burma receives a letter from Abel Benoit, a man in a hospital who claims to know him. On the way to see him, he’s met by a striking woman, Bélita Morales, who tells him not to bother, that Benoit is dead. At the hospital, Burma is interrogated by a police inspector about his connection to the deceased man — it turns they were anarchist together decades earlier, when Benoit used another name.
Burma sets out to figure out why Benoit was killed, and by whom. He spends a bit more time with Bélita, and a lot wandering the shadowy streets of the XIIIth arrondissement. By the end he’ll have figured out who the man is with madness in his eyes, who was pacing on Tolbiac Bridge (an image that haunts the early pages of the story, and figures in its conclusion).
Tardi’s adaptation of this hardboiled detective story by Leo Malet, set in Paris’ XIIIth arrondissement, is a great mystery and gives a great sense of the locale. I’ve enjoyed Tardi’s adaptations of noir mysteries by Jean-Patrick Manchette, and this pulled me in in the same way as my favorite of those, Like A Sniper Lining Up His Shot. Or maybe this was just easy to identify with since it’s been wet and cold in Seattle, and it always seemed to be raining in Tardi and Malet’s XIIIth.