Case #2 for turn-of-the-century Inspector Gautier of the SÃ»retÃ‰ (The Murders at Impasse Louvain)--a rather morose fellow who this time investigates the murder-by-poisoned-chocolates of superb actress Sophie Monterant, cool young rival to the Divine Sarah herself. Suspicions naturally focus on Sophie's very high-placed lovers (and their discontented wives)--which means that Gautier must step on some fancy toes and avoid some soignÃ‰e seductions. And prime suspect from the theater world is low-born cabaret singer Clementine Lyse, Sophie's sometime rival, whom lonely Gautier does very unprofessionally wind up in bed with. (His estranged wife and her new lover also make a sad, let's-all-be-friends appearance here.) The case takes unexpected turns, however, when notorious criminal Marcel Pelotti (in custody for unrelated crimes) turns out to be the man who delivered those nasty candies to Sophie's flat. . . and when Sophie's devoted maid is beaten to death in the street. A nicely surprising solution (though not fully prepared), French political-cultural-sexual tidbits, a quietly appealing sleuth--all in all, another agreeably atmospheric period detection, though without quite as much dark, true-crime feel as the Impasse Louvain case.