In 1789 Paris, the citizens are on edge as riots and murders become commonplace.
The Bastille has fallen and the King has no authority in Paris, where the whole system of law is in turmoil when Anne Cartier and her husband Colonel Paul de Saint-Martin, provost of the Royal Highway Patrol, are called upon to investigate what turn out to be several related murders. A baker is lynched by a mob after being accused of dealing in black-market flour. His deaf wife and son need protection, and the Abbé de l’Épée, a well-regarded teacher of the deaf, asks Anne for help. In the meantime, a member of the Highway Patrol is murdered while riding Saint-Martin’s horse outside Paris. Which of the men, the horse’s rider or its owner, was the real target? Investigations indicate that the same person may be behind all this devilment. Anne and Saint-Martin call on friends and colleagues to spy on those they suspect and help gather evidence to prove their case in court. Their everyday lives become more perilous as they work to outwit a dangerous, well-connected foe.
O’Brien is known for his meticulously researched historical backgrounds (Cruel Choices, 2007, etc.). This time, however, the mystery is overwhelmed by the history.