“The Godmother” is an offbeat French mystery (winner of that country’s major mystery prize). It’s short, mired in details, oddly compelling, and a refreshing antidote to the smooth crime offerings that are a staple of my reading. Patience Portefeux is in her early fifties, works as an Arabic translator for French cops, and is sole support for children and mother. When she becomes privy to wire tapping information that only she understands, something in her snaps and she crosses over to the dark side. My plot description fails to credit Hannelore Cayre with her chief strength, an immersive, matter-of-fact style that suffuses Patience with life from the novel’s opening words. The richly detailed plot, the milieu of the minutiae of the drug world, and a laconic palette grace a one-night read that is sure to delight.