An abusive man, a body carted by a Russian anarchist and
two Italian sisters through the dark streets of the city to be flung into the
canal are the elements of this excellent mystery. Clarie takes the center stage in this
fascinating look at the role of French women in 1897. The Martins have moved from Nancy to the City
of Light. Bernard gave up his
prestigious position as a magistrate and has been pounding the pavement in
search of a new job as an advocate.
Lawyers are not in short supply and Bernard is determined to practice
law in such a way as to make a difference in the lives of working men. Clarie
keeps the family finances afloat with her teaching position. They are both pleased when Bernard finds work
representing the unions. As the school
year comes to an end, one of the charwomen, Francesca, beseeches Clarie for
help finding her two missing daughters. Clarie is touched by the women’s
anguish and brings her story home to Bernard but he is distracted by his new
job, not eager to be involved in the woman’s problems, and of the opinion they
will sort themselves out. Clarie is less
able to put the woman’s worries aside, when trouble escalate for Francesca and
her daughters, Clairie feels herself drawn into a situation well beyond her
ken. The gentle teacher finds herself in
the dark underbelly of Paris; haunts for revolutionaries and radicals.
She is shocked by the conditions she finds and the way society ignores the
plight of women. Pope has been able to
weave much of the social fabric of the time into her thoughtful story while
telling a compelling mystery.
On a sultry night in June 1897, Pyotr Ivanovich Balenov, a young Russian, and two young women, Silva and Angela Molise, transport a dead man through the narrow streets of a working class neighborhood in northeastern Paris. They throw the body into the canal and the girls flee to the Latin Quarter to stay with one of the Russian's anarchist "comrades." They do not realize they too are being watched. Their subsequent disappearance and the violent acts that follow will set Clarie Martin, a high school teacher and mother of a toddler, and her husband, magistrate Bernard Martin, on a dangerous quest to rescue one of them from a vicious murderer.
About the Author
Barbara Corrado Pope is a historian and the founding director of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oregon. She is the author of the novels Cézanne’s Quarry and The Blood of Lorraine. Barbara lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her husband.
An unlikely sleuth is drawn into another murder mystery in turn-of-the-century France. A picaresque puzzle with satisfying period flavor.
Pope’s engaging third mystery featuring magistrate Bernard Martin shines a light on both the glamor and the grime of late-19th-century Paris.