In a series debut, a private investigator escaping a mysterious past runs head-on into a dangerous present during the Cannes Film Festival.
The Englishman who renamed himself Patrick de Courvoisier is living a quiet life between cases on his French gunboat Les Trois Soeurs, anchored in the Old Port of Cannes. But he’s restless and ready for trouble, which obligingly finds him in the person of Camille Ager. She wants him to find her half sister, Angele Valette, the star of The Black Pearl, a film premiering at the Cannes festival. Angele and the eponymous pearl have been missing since the night of the film’s launch party aboard a lavish yacht. The yacht’s owner, Vasily Chapayev, is also a financial backer of the movie, and Camille says Angele was scared of him. After a magical evening with Marie Elise, a high-priced escort who was friendly with the missing starlet, Patrick’s warily romantic dreams are shattered when he finds her dead aboard Les Trois Soeurs. It’s not the first warning he’s received to stay off the case, and he fears that his missing French bulldog is another. But Patrick can't linger aboard his own boat. Convinced he'll be the first suspect in Marie Elise's death, he gathers up the paperwork for three different identities, dives overboard, swims to shore and heads for a former comrade’s house to establish an alibi. A surprise meeting leads to a deal over the black pearl, a hint of even more expensive gemstones, and a risky plot for justice and vengeance.
The enigmatic hero borders on opacity, and the write-by-numbers style Anderson (Picture Her Dead, 2011, etc.) favors is only partly offset by a fast-moving plot and the Cannois setting.