DEATH ON THE CARDS by Richard Grayson


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Another in Grayson's series of police procedurals set in turn-of-the-century Paris and featuring the SuretÉ's Inspector Gautier (Crime Without Passion, etc.)--this time confronted by several murders, with more threatened, in a death list sent to the SuretÉ, the sketch of a playing card next to each name. The so-called List of the Condemned is a mixed bag, including Russian opera star Grigov; renowned novelist Jacques Mounet; Judge Lacaze; and the President of France, Loubet, as well as Greek millionaire Villanis, whose yacht has been bombed, killing two sailors also listed. Motives abound in criss-crossing confusion, although Gautier's superior insists that it's all the work of anarchists. Meanwhile, Gautier gets some help from famed mathematician Racine in figuring out the order of the attacks, but his fix on the culprit is still hazy when he arrives at a masked ball determined to protect Mounet, next on the list. But, escorting his recent mistress, Michelle Le Tellier, and in the midst of Paris, Gautier finds his answers--and more than one culprit--in a melodramatic, overcomplex resolution of the puzzle. Meticulously researched and vivid evocation of Parisian high life of the era, entertainingly written in the author's graceful, lively style. An intriguing puzzle and some easy-to-take history make this one of Grayson's best.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1988
Publisher: St. Martin's