Inspector Gautier, intuitive as ever (The Montmartre Murders, etc.), returns in another complex SÃ»retÃ‰ case in fin-de-siÃ¨cle Paris--this time starting with the murder of respected journalist Jacques Le Tellier by plain, aristocratic Denise de Richemont. A crime of passion? So claims Denise's lawyer--and his impassioned summation wins her acquittal. But the verdict doesn't satisfy Gautier, who gradually amasses evidence--including notes left by the victim--that Denise was not Le Tellier's mistress. The real murder motive? The journalist had become a danger to a small group of powerful men plotting the government's overthrow--a plot that's still operative. So Gautier must now uncover the details and prevent the coup, with a lively finale on gala night at the Opera (with a couple of reigning monarchs in attendance). Again: overplotted and not very credible--but a straightforwardly stylish, evocatively detailed period diversion nonetheless.