The fourth title in Claude Izner's bestselling Victor Legris mystery series, set in belle-epoque Paris
The clock of the Église Trinité had just struck eight o'clock in the morning when, without warning, an ear-splitting explosion ripped through the district. A building on rue de Clichy rocked on its foundations, and within seconds its staircase had collapsed from top to bottom and its windows had shattered.
His body vibrated with the shock of the blast and he thought only: Apocalypse. The street began to dance before his eyes. The dust pricked his nostrils, but what invaded him was something other than its bitter odour, something that seemed to emerge as a long-suppressed memory of a past experience. It was the echo of what had happened long ago. A sign.
Paris, Spring 1892. Intrepid bookseller Victor Legris stumbles upon a new case to investigate when his business partner Kenji Mori's apartment is burgled. Curiously, the only item stolen is a decorative goblet of little value. But on learning that two people who were connected to the goblet have been murdered, Victor becomes convinced of its secret significance. He launches himself into the investigation, which takes him through the underbelly of Paris, in hot pursuit of the goblet as it is thrown in the garbage, picked up by a rag collector, and resold by several antique merchants, all the while leaving more dead bodies in its wake. How quickly can Victor recover the goblet and end the killing spree, in a city beset with terrorist activity by anarchists? Equal parts action, character, and atmosphere, The Assassin in the Marais is Victor's most challenging case yet.
Set in Paris in 1892, the fourth Victor Legris mystery (after 2010's The Montmartre Investigation) from the pseudonymous Izner (sisters Liliane Korb and Laurence Lef vre) fails to make the most of the plot's potential. As Paris is beset by anarchist bombings, Victor, a bookseller, has an apparently unrelated crime to investigate a break-in at the apartment of his fellow bookseller, Kenji Mori. Oddly, the only objects missing are two books and a goblet made from a monkey's skullcap. A zoologist, Antoine du Houssoye, tries to get in touch with Kenji after the theft, at the direction of a woman who was fatally shot a week earlier, but before the two men can connect, du Houssoye is also murdered. The inquiry into the multiple murders never really picks up steam, and the search for the missing goblet fails to maintain suspense.