"Nice Family," by Arthur Dreyfus
Chapter 1 - Resumé (Original French by Frencheuropean)
Granville is situated in Normandy, north of Mont St Michel. Granville's inhabitants live by trading in fruits de mer but are loathe, perhaps even frightened, for some obscure reason, to eat them.
In the bay, at the beginning of the century, high tides often carried away children who had gone to fish for mussels and since then children have had an obsessive fear of salt water instilled in them.
The mayor would like to tax those who harvest the fruits de mer at low tide, but the fishermen consider that it's the law of the sea that applies. A good many of the inhabitants support the mayor for financial reasons, except when their children bring back shellfish because then they have their doubts.
The dignitaries keep the best houses on the cliff for themselves and the fishermen's children never climb the hill where the residences are like forbidden Monopoly.