The investigations of Mary Lester

A series of 34 best-selling Breton novels


by Jean Failler











Detective Constable Mary Lester is a typical Breton. She owes to her navigating ancestors those very traits that so often get her into trouble: audacity (often qualified of foolhardiness by some) and tenacity (also called stubbornness by the same unimaginative know-it-alls).

Follow our intrepid Mary in her highly addictive adventures throughout the mysterious and contrasted region of Brittany and discover just how many sins the word "deviousness" can cover.


The Investigations of Mary Lester

To date, 34 volumes of Mary Lester's investigations have been published in France and the number of copies sold (204,000 in 2009, over 2 million since the first title was launched) speaks for itself.

Each book is set in a different part of Brittany and UK readers should take pleasure in exploring, or revisiting, this Celtic part of France.



Three Mary Lester investigations have been adapted for the French television.

Nine have already been translated into Italian.

Two have now been translated into English. The first one (#8, Mayhem in St Malo) by William Rodarmor, who lives in Berkely, California. Although he did an excellent job, as our feedback from UK readers indicated that they would prefer an English translation to an American one, we chose a UK native translator for the second English Mary Lester investigation "Drizzly days in Lanester"




#1: Drizzly Days in Lanester - (Published in June 2007)

Translated from the French by Anne Pietrasik



A tramp drowns in the river Scorff, a supermarket manager vanishes into thin air, juvenile delinquents go in for a bit of chainsaw-powered breaking & entering ... for  detective constable Marc Amedeo this is just uneventful daily routine.  Peace and quiet rule in the Lorient police station ... or did so until Mary Lester starts knitting these apparently trivial incidents into a full blown multiple murder case!


#8: Mayhem in St Malo (Published in 2003)

Translated from the French by William Rodarmor

Mary Lester is sent to Saint Malo, the all time City of corsairs, to investigate the death of the young and beautiful wife of a local notability 8 months ago. For the local Chief Superintendent the case is non existent: death by natural causes, case closed. Mary's instructions are to just spend a few pleasant days in Saint Malo, pretend to look up a few leads and corroborate the Chief Super's conclusions. But that's reckoning without Mary's insight and natural propensity for getting into trouble! Follow Mary in this medieval fortress where dark forces are at work.


About the author, Jean Failler


The curriculum of this former fishmonger, now the celebrated author of the popular "Mary Lester" detective stories, is somewhat atypical!


With a carpenter for father and a laundress for mother, Jean Failler was not exactly predestined to become a writer. His childhood dreams were fed by the seafaring tales of his grandfather, a remarkable storyteller and professional fisherman who used to takes him aboard during the holidays.



An early reader, Jean soon developed a passion for literature but was not able to fully satisfy his urge to write until his fifties. He did however write as a hobby and, in his 20 years as a fulltime fishmonger, somehow managed to write 16 plays (5 staged) and several short stories, children's books and historical novels before his recurrent heroine, Mary Lester, crept into his life.

After selling his fishmonger's shop, Jean Failler was at last able to devote himself to his passion and has graced us with a series of 34 mystery novels where good humour and intrigue are our travelling companions throughout Brittany, all with that special tangy flavour of sailor-borne irony.



Jean Failler has been awarded quite a few prizes for his work:


v    "Mais poussez donc Léontin" (Prix SACD 1983),

v    "Le festin des gueux" (Prix audiovisuel Metz 1984)

v    "Monsieur Joseph" won a prize at the Brest festival and then another at the Dinard festival

v    "Friture exotique" (Prix de l'Acte in Metz 1985)

v    "Nuit de haine" (Prix de l'Acte in Metz 1988)

v    "Authentique histoire de Bélise" (Prix des ƒcrivains Bretons 1998).

v    His first historical novel "L'ombre du Vétéran" (a historical novel) was awarded the Prix des Écrivains Bretons in 1993.

v    Two Mary Lester investigations are also prize-winners: "Marée blanche" (Prix des Écrivains Bretons 1994) and "Boucaille sur Douarnenez" (Grand Prix de la Ville de Rennes 1995 - Prix des écrivains de l'Ouest 1995).



About the translators

William Rodarmor, who translated "Mayem in St Malo", is a writer and French Literary translator in Berkely, California. He is best known for his translation of famed solo sailor Bernard Moitessier's autobiography, "Tamata and the Alliance" which won the 1996 Lewis Galantière Award from the American Translators Association.


Anne Pietrasik:

Like the author's, the curriculum of the translator of "Drizzly days in Lanester" is rather atypical. Born in London where she grew up until age 10, she now lives in Brittany and has been a freelance medical translator and interpreter since 1992. Her past experience includes training and qualifying as a Registered General Nurse in Farnborough (Kent) and as a Psychomotor Therapist in Paris, nursing in French and English hospitals, translating 3 nursing books and 2 novels into French plus 3 years of full-time sailing in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Caribbean and 7 years of singing on the streets of Paris!


For all correspondence in English, please contact Anne Pietrasik:

11, rue des Filets Bleus

29340 Riec sur Belon


Phone: 33(0)2 98 06 50 63





If you want to brush up your practical French whilst exploring Brittany and its mysterious and magic heritage, follow Mary through her highly entertaining investigations written in simple everyday French:

Click here to access website




1.   Les bruines de Lanester (Drizzly days in Lanester)

2.   Les diamants de l'archiduc (Quimper) (The diamonds of the Archiduke)

3.   La mort au bord de l'étang (Cornouaille) (Death lurks in the marsh)

4.   Marée blanche (Concarneau) (The snow tide)

5.   Le manoir écarlate (set in the area of Châteauneuf-du-Faou, notably the Château de Trévarez) (The scarlet Manor)

6.   Boucaille sur Douarnenez

7.   L'homme aux doigts bleus (La Baule) (The man with blue fingers)

8.   La cité de Dogues (Saint-Malo) (Mayhem in Saint-Malo)

9.   On a volé la Belle Étoile (Camaret-sur-Mer) (Who stole the Belle-Etoile?)

10.   Brume sous le grand pont (Saint-Nazaire) (Murky dealings in Saint Nazaire)

11.   Mort d'une rombiè�re (L'île-Tudy) (Death of an old bag)

12.   Aller simple pour l'enfer (at sea between the Faroe Islands and Iceland) (A single ticket for hell)

13.   Roulette russe (Saint-Quay-Portrieux) (Russian roulette)

14.   À l'aube du troisiè�me jour (Carhaix, during the Vieilles Charrues festival) (On the dawn of the third day)

15.   Les gens de la rivière (Along the river Odet) (Them from the river)

16.   La Bougresse (In the central mountainous part of Brittany called "Les montagnes noires")

17.   La régate du Saint-Phillibert (La Trinité-sur-Mer) (The Saint-Philibert regatta)

18.   Le testament Duchien (Huelgoat) (The Duchien testament)

19.   L'or du Louvre (The Glenan Islands) (The gold of the Louvre)

20.   Forces noires (Rennes) (Dark forces)

21.   Couleur Canari (Nantes) (Canary yellow)

22.   Le renard des grèves - Volume 1 (North-Finist�re) (The beach fox)

23.   Le renard des grèves - Volume 2 (North-Finist�re) (The beach fox)

24.   Les fautes de Lammé-Bouret (Pont-Aven) (Erratum humanum est?)

25.   La variée était en noir (The Bri�re area) (The Bride was in black)

26.   Rien qu'une histoire d'amour (The ria of the river Etel) (Just a love story)

27.   Ca ira mieux demain (Cap Sizun) (It'll be better tomorrow)

28.   Bouboule est mort (Saint Brieuc) (Fatso is dead)

29.   Le passager de la Toussaint (Brest)  (The All-Saints' Day stowaway)

30.   Te souviens-tu de Souliko'o ? - Vol. 1 Bay of Morlaix (Remember Souliko'o?)

31.   Te souviens-tu de Souliko'o ?  - Vol. 2  Bay of Morlaix (Remember Souliko'o?)

32.   Sans verser de larmes Bay of Morlaix (No tears required)

33.   Il vous suffira de mourir - Vol. 1 (Lac de Guerlédan) (Just die, will you!), vol. 1

34.   Il vous suffira de mourir - Vol. 2 (Lac de Guerlédan) (Just die, will you!)


Except for #1 and #8, the English titles are temporary.