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J. Robert Janes: Mayhem {Excerpt}

J. Robert Janes: Mayhem {Excerpt}

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Published by OpenRoadMedia
A Frenchman and a German search for a killer in occupied Paris

Police inspector Jean-Louis St-Cyr watches the German tanks roll into Paris from his office window. When Gestapo agents burst through his door, he is destroying confidential documents with the care that is his trademark. As the Nazis take control of the city, they allow St-Cyr to remain at his post, solving the everyday crimes which do not stop simply because there is a war on. He is assigned a partner, Bavarian detective Hermann Kohler, a bullish man who is as brutal as St-Cyr is refined. Though their politics differ, neither man is the sort to let a bad deed go unpunished.

Today their work takes them to a suburban forest, where a well-dressed young man has been found murdered and stripped of identification. Nearby lies an expensive beaded silk purse. Although it appears to be a crime of passion, its roots lie in the savagery that wartime nurtures and occupation lets run free.
A Frenchman and a German search for a killer in occupied Paris

Police inspector Jean-Louis St-Cyr watches the German tanks roll into Paris from his office window. When Gestapo agents burst through his door, he is destroying confidential documents with the care that is his trademark. As the Nazis take control of the city, they allow St-Cyr to remain at his post, solving the everyday crimes which do not stop simply because there is a war on. He is assigned a partner, Bavarian detective Hermann Kohler, a bullish man who is as brutal as St-Cyr is refined. Though their politics differ, neither man is the sort to let a bad deed go unpunished.

Today their work takes them to a suburban forest, where a well-dressed young man has been found murdered and stripped of identification. Nearby lies an expensive beaded silk purse. Although it appears to be a crime of passion, its roots lie in the savagery that wartime nurtures and occupation lets run free.

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Published by: OpenRoadMedia on May 30, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/29/2013

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Chapter One
At a place where the road pitched down through the gorges, the land sloped steadily upwards tothe barren branches of the trees.The fog was everywhere, hugging the road, putting frost on the tall, sear grasses, rimingthe stones and the spokes of the bicycle. Drenching the body.Jean-Louis St-Cyr slid his hands into the pockets of his overcoat and waited. At dawn,Fontainebleau Forest gave itself entirely over to the birds, those that had not had the great goodfortune to have migrated.It was eerie and it was silent. It was cold, damp and a lot of other things. Kohler’s breathsteamed impatiently and once in each breath, the Bavarian’s nasal passages would pinch andwhistle with barely controlled fury.A giant of a man with the heart and mind of a small-time hustler, the Gestapo agent stoodknee-deep in bracken, looking down at the body. Was he thinking of the Russian Front, of hissons, of death, or merely of his shoes that might, quite possibly, be leaking? Sometimes onenever really knew with Hermann – oh for sure, one could guess, but Hermann … He’d been aMunich detective before his transfer to Berlin, before his ascendancy to Paris. A good one too.Probably.The Bavarian nudged the corpse with the toe of his right shoe but didn’t look up. ‘So,what about it, Louis?’The accent was harsh, guttural, the French quite passable because Hermann, beingHermann and stubborn, had seen to it that he spoke the language. One found out so much morethat way. It facilitated things – all things. Gestapo things. Especially girls.St-Cyr chose not to answer immediately. A last leaf fell through the hush to crash intosome boulders with its load of frost and scrape its way to patient rest.Hermann took no interest in the leaf, in the beauty of its death, the curled edges, the ringof encrusting frost, not even the fact that the leaf was from a plane tree and that such trees were ararity in this part of the Fontainebleau Forest.
 
Always it was blitzkrieg, blitzkrieg. December 1942, the Occupation. Now the whole of France, as of last month.‘We shall have to see, won’t we?’ he said at last.Accustomed to such delays, the Bavarian sucked on a tooth and snorted, ‘It’s one lessFrenchman for us to worry about.’Must he be so blatant? ‘We’ve no evidence he was involved with the Resistance,Inspector. Perhaps …’‘Perhaps what?
 Mein Gott 
, you French. A lonely road like this, death in the small hours?Pedalling like hell to avoid the patrols? He hit a patch of ice and went off the road.’ Kohler smashed a meaty fist into a palm. ‘That boulder settled him, Louis. That one. That one rightthere!’ He pointed fiercely.Blood was frozen to the rock that had killed the boy. Blood and dark brown hairs. ‘Iadmit that it appears as you’ve suggested, Inspector, but the bicycle, my friend, it’s undamaged.’So it was. Irritably Kohler dragged out a cigarette and began thumbing a lighter that justwouldn’t co-operate. ‘Please, allow me, Hermann.’ ‘
 Ja, ja
, of course. That lousy bed last night, Ididn’t sleep a wink. So, what do you really make of it?’St-Cyr found his pipe and began the ritual of packing it. Inwardly Kohler threw up hishands in despair. Sometimes Louis took for ever! As at meals, especially lunch. Two hours if hecould get them. Two! Not a shred of tobacco was lost. Hard up on the rations again. So, that made them equal.Tobacco was the great leveller these days. It brought out the worst in people, boughtfriends, information, pretty girls.Several minutes passed in which neither of them moved from where they’d beenstanding. Hermann was the taller – bigger in every way. At fifty-five years of age he understoodonly too well the vagaries of life. He’d cock an eye at something new but beyond that, nosurprise, only a stolid acceptance of human frailties. He frowned at his superiors, remainingremote from them. The bulldog jowls, sad, puffy eyelids that bagged and drooped to well-raspedcheeks and shrapnel scars, served only to emphasize the hidden thoughts behind the faded blue

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