In a resort town turned internment camp, a female prisoner is brutally murdered
Before the war, the hotels of Vittel hosted the wealthiest members of French society. Now, in the winter of 1943, two of France’s most luxurious resorts have been converted into an internment camp for British and American women who failed to escape the country when the German army stormed across the border. For two years, the prisoners have lived quietly, surviving on Red Cross aid packages, but now they are beginning to die. An American woman is found stabbed through the heart with a pitchfork. By the time inspectors Jean-Louis St-Cyr and Hermann Kohler arrive from Paris, rigor mortis and the February frost have frozen her solid. In her pockets are Cracker Jacks and Hershey bars—bribes intended for one of the guards. To bring justice to Vittel, St-Cyr and Kohler will have to unravel the conspiracy that is at the heart of this luxurious, elegant hell.read more
Set in early 1943, Janes's satisfying 13th mystery pairing the odd couple of French detective Louis St. Cyr and Gestapo detective Hermann Kohler (after 2002's Flykiller) focuses on crimes at two German internment camps "in a forgotten corner of southernmost Lorraine." Almost 1,000 Americans and some 1,700 British women are housed in once luxurious adjacent hotels in a former spa town. When the detectives look into "[t]wo possible murders, a terminated pregnancy, a kleptomaniac, a medium who overcharges," and a missing poison capsule, they discover a snake pit of rivalries, allegiances, prejudices, and suspicions that threaten not only their investigation but their lives. Did Mary-Lynn Allen fall into an elevator shaft or was she pushed? Was Caroline Lacy murdered because she knew the answer? Despite Janes's often opaque prose, the combined ingenuity of St. Cyr and Kohler, the harsh realities of the occupation, and an array of intriguing characters will keep readers turning the pages. Agent: Otto Penzler. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.