A pair of suspicious suicides are linked to each other and to the “godforsaken rock” that irrevocably changed the victims’ lives a decade ago.
In April in Paris, there’s still a nip in the air, so conditions aren’t ideal for frail Alice Gauthier to take a walk. When she suffers a fall, Marie-France, a helpful passer-by, gathers the contents of her spilled purse, noticing an unsent letter only after the lady is on her way. The day after Marie-France duly posts the letter, Madame Gauthier is found dead in her bathtub, an apparent suicide. But when Commissaire Adamsberg (An Uncertain Place, 2011, etc.) and his sidekick, Danglard, investigate, many small details argue against a ruling of suicide, and a scrawled Cyrillic character near the body is a genuine conundrum. Not long afterward, esteemed chemist Henri Masfauré shoots himself, and Danglard finds a letter to him from Madame Gauthier at the crime scene. It links them via an expedition to Iceland a decade ago that ended in tragedy. When Adamsberg and Danglard track down the other members of the party, they are unsurprisingly met with obfuscation and lies. Yet another alleged suicide, this one involving a knife in the belly, raises the stakes in the duo’s pursuit of a bold and perhaps desperate serial killer.
The intricate eighth installment in this Parisian series delights with its interesting characters, engaging dialogue, and infectious sense of curiosity about the lives of others.