A charming expat and her Parisian chum help the police solve a string of murders in the Bibliotheque Nationale.
Who would murder a librarian and stuff his body into a stall in a nondescript bistro in the not terribly swank 13th Arrondisement? Capitaine Denis Boussicault can’t figure it out, so he agrees to let amateur sleuth Rachel Levis go undercover as a temporary replacement for Guy Laurent, the victim, who worked in the Bibliotheque Nationale’s reading room. He has ample reason to think Rachel is up to the task: Her candor and charm encourage people to confide in her, she demonstrated a knack for detection in the murder of her former lover Edgar Bowen (Death in Paris, 2018), and, most important, she was the one who discovered Laurent’s body in the toilettes at Chez Poule, where she had gone to investigate whether the condom machines in French men’s rooms are the same as in women’s rooms. Rachel unearths plenty of dirt on Laurent, who tormented his co-workers, annoyed patrons, and seems to have had an interesting side hustle in blackmail. As Rachel helps interview the eccentric library staff and the even nutsier patrons, more corpses appear. The interplay between Boussicault and Rachel, who may overestimate the power conferred by her status as police consultant and its effect on her relationship with Magda Stevens, the crime-fighting partner who helped her crack the Bowen case, drive the narrative as much as the puzzle.
A worthy encore to Bernhard’s Death in Paris series debut.