Paris is in mourning. At the fireworks display marking the Dauphin's marriage to Marie Antoinette, hundreds of people have been injured or crushed to death. Yet not all the victims died accidentally...This tragic incident yields a new case for Commissioner Le Floch when a strangled woman is found amongst the other corpses.The investigation will lead him to the home of a furrier on Rue Royale and a terrifying encounter with supernatural forces.
Nicolas Le Floch investigates a murder during a riot in Paris, in Parot's superb third historical featuring the French police commissioner (after The Man with the Lead Stomach). In May 1770, all of Paris is eagerly anticipating the festivities to honor the upcoming wedding of the dauphin. But pleasure turns to panic one night after a fireworks display goes awry and causes a large fire in the Rue Royale. More than a thousand people perish fleeing the flames, but Nicolas is intrigued by just one victim an unidentified pregnant woman of about 20 who was presumably crushed to death. Bluish marks on her neck, however, suggest that she was strangled, which an autopsy confirms. Nicolas artfully manipulates his superior into letting him probe the homicide, ostensibly as a way of concealing a more general inquiry into the causes of the accidental fire. Parot again displays an impressive command of period detail and politics, and uses them to enhance an intricate murder mystery.