In fin de siècle Paris, international intrigue clouds the search for a missing nobleman.
It's 1890. One of the first duties of professorial new chief inspector Achille Lefebvre is supervising the guillotining of political assassin Laurent Moreau, who spits in his face. At around the same time as Moreau is losing his head, the Baron Le Noir de Livet goes missing along with the bagful of money he’s carrying. Employees of the casino where the baron was last seen don’t tell Lefebvre and his sidekick, Inspector Legros, anything helpful. But Lefebvre’s own wife does. When Adele Lefebvre calmly tells her husband that she’d be surprised if the grieving baroness didn’t have a lover, he considers the case with new eyes. He visits the baroness for a follow-up interview shortly after her maid, Manuela Otero, has been poisoned, triggering the baroness’s hysteria. Meanwhile, he learns that Giraud and Breton, two of the late Moreau’s comrades, are plotting to assassinate him. Following up on the associates of this duo leads the investigation to an international cabal of foreign agents. The de Livet inquiries rest on forensic details involving timelines and dosages that require Lefebvre to put in grueling hours, shadowed by bodyguard Sgt. Adam. The investigation finally gains traction when he finds a link between the baron and the anarchist.
The third of Inbinder’s lush, leisurely period procedurals (The Devil in Montmartre, 2014, etc.) favors the journey over the destination, with back stories and period touches in nearly every chapter.