In In the Shadows of Paris, the fifth installment in this c'est magnifique Victor Legris series by Claude Izner, a murderer is at large in belle-epoque Paris.
In the turbulent Parisian summer of 1893,Victor Legris has vowed to his fiancée to give up the dangerous hobby of amateur sleuthing to concentrate on selling books.
But a killer is at large, leaving mysterious references to a leopard in his notes, and intent on revenge for events that took place many years before during the Commune. When a bookbinder friend of Victor's dies in a house fire that does not seem to be accidental, the young bookseller feels impelled to resume his detective work and uncover the identity of the Batignolles predator. Alongside his trusty assistant Jojo, Victor embarks on a new investigation in the bourgeois quarters of Paris, where scoundrels abound and streethawkers call out their wares among market stalls, under the bloody shadow of the Commune.
An especially crafty solution distinguishes the fifth belle epoque whodunit from the two sisters using the Izner pseudonym (after 2011 s The Assassin in the Marais). After a daring daytime robbery of a jewelry store, carried out with the unwitting assistance of a gendarme, Paris is hit by a violent crime wave. Two murders one of the founder of Paris s natural history museum, the other of a painter of enamels attract the attention of bookseller Victor Legris. His curiosity becomes more than casual after a bookbinder friend, Pierre Andresy, perishes in a fire in his store amid evidence that arson was involved. Bizarrely, a death notice in the paper for Andresy was placed before his death and contains language similar to that on a note found on the painter s corpse. Not many readers will identify the murderer before Legris, whose quirky and endearing character is even more developed than in previous books.