A Crime Novel
A New York Times “100 Notable Books of 2019”
Inspiration for the major motion picture Mama Weed
Translated from the international bestseller La Daronne
Winner of the European Crime Fiction Prize and the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, France’s most prestigious prize for crime fiction
“Exuberant… Maybe crime doesn’t pay, but the guile and guts — and humour — with which Patience approaches this extreme solution to her desperate situation, right under the noses of law enforcement, is admirable, as are her survival instincts. Readers will be anxious about the fate of the forthright, sympathetic Patience up to the final page. It’s no surprise that this novel won the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, France’s most prestigious award for crime fiction.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review
Meet Patience Portefeux, a fifty-three-year-old, underpaid Franco-Arab interpreter for the Ministry of Justice who specializes in phone tapping. Widowed after the sudden death of her husband, Patience is now wedged between university fees for her grown-up daughters and nursing home costs for her aging mother.
Happening upon an especially revealing set of police wiretaps ahead of all other authorities, Patience makes a life-altering decision that sees her intervening in — and infiltrating — the machinations of a massive drug deal. She thus embarks on an entirely new career path: Patience becomes The Godmother.
This is not the French idyll of postcards and stock photos. With a gallery of traffickers, dealers, police officers, and politicians, The Godmother casts its sharp and amusing gaze on everyday survival in contemporary France. With an unforgettable woman at its center, Hannelore Cayre’s bestselling novel reveals a European criminal underground that has rarely been seen.
Hannelore Cayre is an award-winning French novelist, screenwriter, and director, and a practicing criminal lawyer. Her works include Legal Aid, Masterpieces, and Like It Is in the Movies. She has directed several short films and the adaptation of Commis d’office (Legal Aid) is her first feature-length film. Cayre lives in Paris. After working as a lawyer in Sydney and London, Stephanie Smee made her literary translation debut with an English translation of the Countess de Ségur’s Fleurville Trilogy.