I just finished this book yesterday and am still a little bit in shock since all the main characters got badly affected by the murderer this time! As much as I have loved these books so far, I have decided to take a break and read something lighter for a change. I don’t want to get bored of Victor Legris. Two more books about him are sitting on my latest book pile, but they will have to wait a little bit. Thanks to me visiting the library and feeling that Alexander McCall Smith, might be nice for a change. I’ve just started his 44 Scotland Street series and don’t know what to think yet but here’s what I think about Claude Izner’s fourth book:
March 1892: A bomb goes off in Paris close to Tasha’s flat.(The mistress of the protagonist of the book, amateur sleuth,Victor Legris) It sets off the mad mind of a religious fanatic that thinks it is a sign of God, that he has been chosen as God’s emissary. To do what? Destroy an ugly goblet. April 1892: Lady Stone, living in an old castle in Scotland, receives a late night visitor who inquires after the goblet. In the morning she is found shot dead. At the same time Kenji Mori, co-owner of Victor Legris’ book shop, is visiting London with his daughter Iris. While he is away, strange ladies in Russian clothes hang about the book shop and one day the flat above it, belonging to Kenji, is broken in to. The goblet is one of the few things stolen!
Who ever gets in contact with the goblet, basically gets murdered after having passed it on to a new owner. And Victor, together with his shop assistant Joseph Pignot and Kenji, tries to follow the trail of the goblet to find the killer.
Victor Legris’ mistress Tasha, still doesn’t want to marry him, and is away for most of the book, having Victor green with jealousy. Joseph, is having a more innocent love affair with Iris, against Kenji’s and Victor’s wishes, Victor being the half-brother of Iris. It’s always interesting to see how the main characters personal lives develop with every book.
Like all the other books, it’s really a social study of Paris closing in on the 20th Century. We get to read about the artists, the books read and are guided around on so many streets of Paris that at least I felt very lost. Thankfully, this time, they had added a small map of the most important places mentioned, which helped. This is what was called La Belle Epoque. But after reading this book, one realizes that it was only belle for a few. How most of Paris’ population survived is beyond me. The reader gets to experience the utmost poverty and a very ugly side of Paris. It was not all new inventions every week!
It’s a great read, exciting and you have a very difficult time guessing WHO the religious fanatic is and the motif for him wanting the goblet.