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SANDMAN by J. Robert Janes

SANDMAN

By J. Robert Janes

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 1997
ISBN: 1-56947-106-1
Publisher: Soho

 Four schoolgirls have already been murdered when Jean-Louis St-Cyr and his Gestapo colleague Hermann Kohler are called to occupied Paris to investigate a fifth. But this time the crime scene reveals subtle and disturbing differences that make them wonder if this crime was really the Sandman's work after all. The girl who died in a birdcage in the Bois de Boulogne was stabbed by a knitting needle, but by a different-sized needle, and stabbed in a different place, than the first four. Although she's wearing the disordered clothing of munitions heiress NÇnette Vernet, the corpse is actually NÇnette's friend AndrÇe Noireau, orphaned when her parents went abroad on a visit to Coventry and never returned. As for NÇnette herself, she might as well be orphaned, since she's caught not only in the European war but in the more intimate battle between her bullying father and her scheming mother. Perhaps that's why she's disappeared, along with her companion, university student Liline Chambert. Or perhaps her disappearance is connected to the traces of SS involvement--from the presence of the Kommandant of Paris in the birdcage within minutes of the murder to the commerce at a nearby Germans-only brothel to the vile paintings of a sentimental Attack Leader that St-Cyr and Kohler keep tripping over no matter how hard they try to overlook them. As elliptical and understated as any of Louis and Hermann's cases (Stonekiller, p. 592, etc.), though its crescendo of ugly secrets marks it as one of their most searching.