The Disappearance at Père-Lachaise
A Victor Legris MysteryBook - 2009
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Paris, 1890. The fin de siècle period, a mixture of decadence, opulence and slight anxiety for the coming new century. A time when the upper and lower classes were drawing further apart, when artistes were embracing bohemian modernism and when wives and husbands were embracing lovers. It was the time of the Panama Canal fiasco, when thousands of men lost their fortunes to the ill-planned enterprise, and lost their lives to yellow fever and influenza. In the midst of the city, between the Pont Royal and Pont Neuf on the River Seine, bookseller and amateur sleuth Victor Legris is sought by his former lover’s maid. She is nearly hysterical, because her mistress vanished while visiting her husband’s tomb in the Père-Lachaise cemetery. Reluctant to believe the worst, Victor takes little note of her tale, so it is good that his assistant Joseph – an aspiring mystery writer – keenly observes her fears, since all too soon the young girl herself goes missing. Now fearing for his old flame, Victor begins retracing her steps while his new flame, Tasha, sends Joseph after Victor to keep him from harm. Victor (and Joseph) draw ever nearer to the truth about Odette de Valois’ disappearance, encountering clairvoyants, sensitive artists and eccentric characters along the way, but a shadow has been lurking, watching them both. This is a shadow with a long arm, a long history, and a brutally cold heart. And before Victor and Joseph discover the whole truth, yet another person will become a victim… Brilliantly evoking 19th century Paris with many historical and cultural asides (helpfully explained in the appendices), this quick-paced, sinuous tale is sure to make Claude Izner – actually a pseudonym for two sisters –a new favourite of mystery-lovers.
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