A Paris librarian’s death is just the start of a series of mysterious occurrences.
Former FBI profiler Hugo Marston, who’s working at the U.S. Embassy in Paris and sharing an apartment with his best friend, CIA freelancer Tom Green, is intrigued by a call from Paul Rogers, the director of the American Library in Paris, about an upcoming book sale that may allow Hugo to add to his collection of signed first editions. At the library, Hugo gets Paul’s assistant, Michael Harmuth, to let him into a basement room where Paul is no longer working on his own novel because he’s suddenly died. Despite every appearance of natural death, Hugo has a bad feeling he shares with Lt. Camille Lerens, his friend in the Brigade Criminelle. Camille, who used to be Christophe, humors Hugo by using the death as a training exercise for a CSU team. Hugo knows from his friend Merlyn and her journalist pal Miki about Miki’s plan to write a story about Isabelle Severin, a famous actress who’s rumored to have been a spy and killed a Gestapo officer during World War II. Severin, now descending into dementia, has donated most of her personal papers to the American Library, but Miki wants access to the material she thinks Severin is holding back. Meanwhile, the police finally establish that Paul’s curare poisoning was either suicide or murder. When his girlfriend is found dead, another apparent suicide, Hugo, certain that both deaths are murder, begins to look for a killer among the unlucky pair’s friends and colleagues. The answer may be buried deep in the past, but Hugo’s Sherlock-ian skills serve him well as he hunts a killer.
More cerebral than Pryor’s earlier cases (The Reluctant Matador, 2015, etc.), but fans will still find plenty of action.