When Chief Inspector Pel accepts a drinks invitation at the house of a big shot, Deputy Claude Barclay, he doesn’t realise how compromised he will become by his acceptance.
Shortly afterwards, Barclay is kidnapped; the partially decomposed body of a retired soldier is discovered in a wood, and a series of art forgeries need investigating. Pel must tie all three together and solve a scandal which has become the talk of France.
Moody, sharp-tongued and worrying constantly about his health, Inspector Pel ensures that no case goes unsolved, in these mordantly witty French mysteries.
Praise for the Inspector Pel Mystery series:
‘Totally convincing.’ Financial Times
‘Mr Hebden has created a nice band of flics.’ Oxford Times
‘Pel and his procedurals are some of the best things since Maigret.’ Observer
‘Chief Inspector Evariste Clovis Désiré Pel, as well rounded a character as Maigret or Van der Valk.’ Punch
‘Impeccable French ambience, unexaggerated flics, and a well-constructed solution. Hebden proves again that few understand Gallic cops better than English writers!’ The Times
‘Some characters grow as their saga lengthens and Pel… is one of them. You might say he is ripening along with the grapes.’ Police Review
‘…written with downbeat humour and some delightful dialogue.’ Financial Times
‘…all is most cunningly contrived and dovetailed into a coherent plot.’ Irish Times
‘A thoroughly entertaining read.’ Evening Standard
‘The best Gallic sleuth since Maigret.’ London Mystery Selection
Fans of Chief Inspector Evariste Clovis Desire Pel ( Pel Among the Pueblos and Pel and the Pirates ) will welcome this latest mystery. On the eve of national elections local Deputy Claude Barclayart collector, hero of Dien Bien Phu and patron of many worthy causesis kidnapped. Paris suspects terrorists and sends a special squad to Burgundy to investigate. The newspapers have a field day, implying all sorts of international and political plots as well as police ineptitude. The special squad leader removes Pel from the case because he had once been a guest at Barclay's home. At the same time, Pel is working on a murder of an old soldier, while his assistant, Sergeant Jean-Luc Nosjean, is investigating a series of art forgeries, one of them possibly involving a painting of Barclay's. As a connection begins to develop between the cases, the irascible Pel works behind the scenes to solve the kidnapping. Along the way he discovers a most luxurious house of ill repute and, as always, confounds his enemies. Hebden delivers another delightful police procedural, French style, with some nice touches on country life and the private lives of the cops. ( September )