Skip to main content

Book cover of Les malices by Catherine Dousteyssier-Khoze

Catherine Dousteyssier-Khoze’s new novel, Les malices, has come out with French publisher L’Harmattan.

Les malices (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2023) focuses on a real-life event that took place in Le Mans, France in 1933, namely the murders of a bourgeois mother and her adult daughter by their two maids, the Papin sisters. That event had a huge resonance in the French cultural imaginary and Les malices provides a fictional account of the murders through the distorted perception of the younger sister, Léa, as well as from various perspectives and writing styles: to and fro between past and present and between historical event and fiction; police statements; medical records; court documents; newspaper extracts; diary entries. The various, dissonant voices explore the manifestations (and the language) of the sisters’ ‘madness’ while underlining the stark class divide and the silent rules that prevailed in a bourgeois household in 1930s France. 

Further information about Les malices and Catherine Dousteyssier-Khoze