This mystery breaks from Laurie King’s stories of Sherlock Holmes to tell another story in the historical setting of Paris in 1929. The story is set months before the financial collapse. The protagonist, Harris Stuyvesant, is a private investigator and an ex-FBI agent. He is tracking down a missing American girl who traveled to Paris and was experiencing the art movement of the area. There are shadows of WWI with the walking wounded among the characters. One of their number reminded me of her Sherlock Holmes character.
His search takes him into the artistic communities of Paris where he finds dark secrets. Joining forces with the local
Laurie’s story suggests a very thorough understanding of Paris in the 20s, it is difficult to discern how much is fictional and how much is real. Harris’ adventures reveal sights, sounds, and occasional smells that bring Paris to life.
The book plays out less as a mystery as an adventure of exploration of the darker side of the artistic underworld. Although Harris’ search is a constant drive of the novel, it is the dark side of the story that feels like the real story. Maybe not a mystery, but the story was enjoyable and the characters interesting. But it should have been better.