Another early exploit in the career of the SÃ»retÃ‰'s nostalgic M. Pinaud--reported at the usual snail's pace by the detective's adoring chronicler. The murder victim: middle-aged rouÃ‰ Edmond Laroche, owner of the classiest jewelry establishment in Paris, stabbed to death. And the prime suspect is jewelry-repair expert Henry Capet, whose virginal daughter (now pregnant) was the latest casualty of Laroche's seducing ways. But Pinaud's infallible instincts lead him to Valoisin in the Touraine countryside--power-base of the late Edmond's formidable mother, And, undeterred by Madame Laroche's wish to bury the case, Pinaud (after several narrow escapes from death) presses on to a neat, not-too-predictable solution--his wits ever sharpened by gargantuan amounts of food and drink. Slightly florid, extremely leisurely storytelling in the familiar Audemars manner, then--somewhat enlivened this time by intriguing glimpses into the French social structure.