The Disappearance at Pere-Lachaise
St. Martin's Press, Sep15 2009, $24.99
In 1890 Paris, heeding a spiritualist who advised her to see her late husband Armand at his gravesite in Pere-Lachaise cemetery, Odette de Valois tries to calm down his restless spirit. However, after following directions, Odette never returns home. Her concerned maid Denise De Louarn visits bookseller Victor Legris to ask for his help. He agrees to investigate what happened to the late geologist’s widow as he was once her lover.
Victor, who solved the case of the MURDER ON THE EIFFEL TOWER and his shop assistant Joseph Pignot begin to look at clippings of crime the latter has cut from papers. Victor learns that an elderly person carried away Odette’s body from the cemetery. Soon afterward Denise drowns in the Seine. Victor believes the death of the maid is tied to the vanishing of her employer. He and Joseph begin to find links between Armand’s work on the failed canal at the Isthmus of Panama, a valuable painting that should be worthless, and murder.
The whodunit is a device to bring late nineteenth century Paris to life in what is a super historical. Victor is like the period as he makes his inquiries he meets a world of foreign delights since Paris is the cultural capital of the world during that era. Fans who appreciate a deep look at a period through its fine arts but also wrapped inside a taut mystery will want to join Monsieur Izner on his fabulous guided tour of the Left Banke and other artsy sections of Paris circa 1890.