The good life in the Périgord countryside is menaced by pedophiles, terrorists, torturers, and a visiting magistrate from Paris.
Does he need to buy a new suit for the wedding of his 60-something friends, museum curator Dr. Clothilde Daumier and archaeological consultant professor Horst Vogelstern? St. Denis Police Chief Bruno Courrèges (Fatal Pursuit, 2016, etc.) only wishes that were his biggest problem. But the newspapers are full of reports alleging sex abuse at the Mussidan orphanage 30 years ago, based on testimony obtained under hypnosis by psychologist Marie-France Duteiller, though the evidence has been questioned by Chief Detective Jean-Jacques Jalipeau. A more urgent report comes from the Château Commarque, a magnificent but half-ruined structure on the road to Sarlat. The body of an unidentified woman has been found beneath a wall she seems to have fallen from in the course of painting the letters I, F, T, I. The discovery that the dead woman is Leah Ben-Ari, an Israeli born in France as Leah Wolinsky, and the theory that her graffiti refers to the Testament of Iftikhar, a centuries-old document that purports to expose Muslim claims to Jerusalem as fraudulent, only deepens the mystery. Why had Leah come to this out-of-the-way place to make her statement? How to parse her long relationship with Palestinian Saïd al-Husayni, and how is she connected to the terrorists who tortured noted Templar scholar Auguste Dumesnil to the point of death? What effect will the suicide of an elderly nun who pressed the police to investigate at the orphanage have on the Mussidan case? And how will Bruno ever find time in the midst of this swirling intrigue to wine and dine lovely Guadeloupe-born magistrate Amélie Plessis, who, sent by the Ministry of Justice to look over his shoulder, recommends that he set up a Facebook account?
Just the thing for readers hungry for a banquet of epicurean pleasures, ancient history, international terrorism, and holy matrimony. More timid souls who crave a less incongruous mix may want to wait till next year.