The Disappearance at Pere-Lachaise

The Disappearance at Pere-Lachaise

A Victor Legris Mystery

Book - 2009
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Fin de siècle Paris: the world of Verlaine and Zola, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec; a time of anarchists, scientists, and occultists, when can-can skirts were raised at the Moulin Rouge and fortunes were lost on the Panama Canal. Armand de Valois was one of these latter unfortunates, stricken by yellow fever at the site of his ruin. When his widow Odette disappears into his tomb in the Père-Lachaise cemetery and never returns, her maid Denise fears the worst. Alone in the great metropolis, Denise knows just one person she can go to for help: Odette's former lover, Victor Legris. When the frightened girl turns up at his bookshop, Victor feels there must be a simple explanation for Odette's disappearance.

But it soon becomes apparent that something sinister lies behind events at the Père-Lachaise. When Denise turns up drowned in the Seine, and Odette's corpse is found buried in an overgrown backyard, Victor throws himself into his second investigation, aided by his trusty assistant Joseph and much to his lover Tasha's chagrin.

Once again, Paris and its denizens come alive, and events of world and local history give the mystery a thrilling backdrop. From the the Bois de Vincennes to the streets of Saint-Germain, from trams to carriages, from artists' lofts to coffee bars, diligently researched and tightly plotted, The Disappearance at Père-Lachaise immerses readers in a fascinating mystery in the glorious City of Light.

Publisher: New York : Minotaur Books, 2009
ISBN: 9780312383756
Branch Call Number: IZNER
Characteristics: 306 p
Additional Contributors: Garcia, Lorenza
Reid, Isabel


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DanniOcean Feb 22, 2010

reviewed in Stratford Gazette's Shelf Life column, Feb 26, 2010


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DanniOcean Feb 22, 2010

Paris, 1890. The fin de siècle period, a mixture of decadence, opulence and slight anxiety for the coming new century. A time when the upper and lower classes were drawing further apart, when artistes were embracing bohemian modernism and when wives and husbands were embracing lovers. It was the time of the Panama Canal fiasco, when thousands of men lost their fortunes to the ill-planned enterprise, and lost their lives to yellow fever and influenza. In the midst of the city, between the Pont Royal and Pont Neuf on the River Seine, bookseller and amateur sleuth Victor Legris is sought by his former lover’s maid. She is nearly hysterical, because her mistress vanished while visiting her husband’s tomb in the Père-Lachaise cemetery. Reluctant to believe the worst, Victor takes little note of her tale, so it is good that his assistant Joseph – an aspiring mystery writer – keenly observes her fears, since all too soon the young girl herself goes missing. Now fearing for his old flame, Victor begins retracing her steps while his new flame, Tasha, sends Joseph after Victor to keep him from harm. Victor (and Joseph) draw ever nearer to the truth about Odette de Valois’ disappearance, encountering clairvoyants, sensitive artists and eccentric characters along the way, but a shadow has been lurking, watching them both. This is a shadow with a long arm, a long history, and a brutally cold heart. And before Victor and Joseph discover the whole truth, yet another person will become a victim… Brilliantly evoking 19th century Paris with many historical and cultural asides (helpfully explained in the appendices), this quick-paced, sinuous tale is sure to make Claude Izner – actually a pseudonym for two sisters –a new favourite of mystery-lovers.

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