October 11, 2011

The Assassin in the Marais

In the first few pages of The Assassin in the Marais, a dizzying array of characters are introduced. It soon becomes clear, however, that here in Paris, in 1892, there's a murderer who thinks he is God's emissary hunting for a strange goblet and that the staff of a small bookstore may be the only people able to stop him.

The goblet was stolen from Mr. Kenji Mori, the business partner of bookseller and amateur photographer Victor Legris. Then Antoine du Houssaye, a noted naturalist who had recently stopped by the bookstore asking for Mori, turns up dead.

Victor is now certain that something is afoot and that the missing goblet must be linked to the death of du Houssaye. Victor and bookshop assistant Joseph Pignot set off to find the object--a task that requires them to crisscross Paris interviewing wealthy aristocrats, rag and bone men, antiques dealers and bartenders alike. What they don't notice is that the emissary, astride a newfangled bicycle, is following them wherever they go. Each of them are distracted by complications in their love lives, but as the bodies keep piling up, Victor, Kenji and Joseph realize they must hurry to unmask the killer before they themselves are at risk.

Claude Izner (a pseudonym used by bookseller sisters Liliane Korb and Laurence Lefèvre) has written a quick-paced, historically authentic mystery with engaging and believable characters. It will leave readers waiting with anticipation for the fifth in the series to be translated into English.

Rating: 3.2 out of 5
Should I recommend it to my grandma? Sure

Am I the only one who has a hard time thinking of a bicycle as a new invention? 
Would you have liked to live in the 1890s?

Just so you know, this review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers on Tuesday, September 27th. And the cover image/title of the book are Amazon affiliate links.