If you think you’ve seen every imaginable variation of the detective story, just consider this scene, wherein the gumshoe is in the office of a murder suspect, tryiing to conduct an interview, wiith a baby in her arms.
Detective: “Oh, I’m leaking. Time to feed you Lulu!” And so she commences to breast-feed her eight-month-old daughter while trying to interrogate her suspect.
In the graphic novel “Rebecca and Lucie,” with a subtitle that indicates it might be the first in a series, Pascal Girard refreshes the well-worn amateur sleuth genre by making his detective a bored mother on maternity leave who inserts herself into the search for a missing neighbor, then conducts her investigation with a baby in tow.
Progress on the case takes regular breaks for familiar parental occasions, pool parties, doctor visits and even bus rides where the child decides to help herself to the headphones worn by another passenger. It’s the kind of micro-trauma that parents experience every day. Crime-solving seems so simple when it’s placed up against parenthood.
Girard’s visual style fits firmly into the soft-line and subtle color palette typical of so much contemporary European cartooning. It won’t unduly stimulate you but also doesn’t interfere with the flow of this tightly paced and engaging short novel.
Rebecca and Lucie In the Case of the Missing Neighbor
By Pascal Girard
Drawn & Quarterly, 104 pages