Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Man With The Lead Stomach-Jean-François Parot and Michael Glencross (translator

The Man With The Lead Stomach Jean-François Parot and Michael Glencross (translator) Gallic, May 13 2014, $15.95 ISBN: 9781906040123 In 1761, gunshots are heard by family and staff inside the locked bedroom of the son of the Comte de Ruissec. Although the evidence overwhelmingly points to a suicide, recently promoted to Commissioner (due to his excellent handling of the Lardin affair; see The Chatelet Apprentice), Nicolas Le Floch believes a homicide occurred by a brilliant killer who brilliantly staged the death. Comte de Ruissec refuses to cooperate with the police inquiry into his son’s death, but he uses his being part of Princess Adelaide’s retinue to try to end the investigation or at least thwart the inquiry. Though there is pressure on Le Floch to stop the case, his boss Sartine warns him to tread extremely carefully as he deals with the non-cooperating or misinforming aristocracy in Versailles and less so amidst the brothels and theaters of Paris. When the Commissioner learns the deceased owed an exorbitant gambling debt that forced him to end his relationship with an angry actress in order to become engaged to a wealthy older woman; he ponders whether the motive lies somewhere in the victim’s recent relationships. The second Le Floch eighteenth century French police procedural is a strong investigative historical starring a wonderful protagonist who has come a long way from his country bumpkin start. Readers will enjoy Le Floch’s inquiry into what appears to be a suicide though the cop and his assistant Inspector Bourdeau lean towards a locked room murder. Harriet Klausner

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