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A policeman on a mission of mercy is shot dead at point-blank range by a sweet old granny on a frosty morning. The neighbourhood, Paris's bubbling Belleville quarter, is already in uproar because half a dozen other grannies have been found with their shrivelled throats slit. Into this tense situation stumbles Benjamin Malaussene with an overly complicated life that includes his voluptuous red-haired girlfriend, Julie, and his smelly epileptic dog, Julius. Maniacally inventive - some have called it deranged - Pennac's creations in The Fairy Gunmother have achieved cult status all over Europe.