Book fuels row over death of actress

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The death of the actress Marie Trintignant during a quarrel with her rock star boyfriend in July continues to make waves in France.

A court in Paris will decide tomorrow whether to ban a book in which Mme Trintignant's mother calls Bertrand Cantat, 39, lead singer of the French rock group Noir Desiré, a "murderer", an "assassin" and a "macho barbarian".

Mme Trintignant, 44, died of head injuries. M. Cantat, one of France's most popular rock musicians, admits hitting her, but says she fell and struck her head. He is in custody in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, facing murder charges. His family and lawyer saythe book, published this week, will prejudice his trial.

Her deathhas divided her family and supporters and those of M. Cantat. Mme Trintignant's parents accused Cantat supporters of "indecency" when they organised a music show in Vilnius in August to "cheer him up". M. Cantat's family have accused sympathisers of Mme Trintignant of being behind a fire that destroyed his family home in south-west France last month.

The affair has also provoked a lucrative commercial battle between the two largest French media groups, Vivendi Universal, which owns M. Cantat's recording company, and Hachette-Lagardère.

Vivendi's Canal Plus TV channel has run interviews with remaining members of the group and a live TV concert, and the group's sales have soared.

The book is being published by Hachette-Lagardère, which owns the film production company Mme Trintignant (and her mother) was working for at the time of her death, and magazines belonging to the group, including Paris Match and Elle, have been given exclusive interviews with Nadine Trintignant.