The Metro

by Josef Essberger
The discovery of a body in the Paris Metro early one morning was not
particularly unusual. That it was headless sent a frisson through the
sixth arrondissement, but the incident went unnoticed outside Paris.
Yet there was clearly something strange about the case. It was hardly as
though the body had been decapitated to frustrate identification, for it was fully
clothed and none of the owner's personal effects had been removed, save of
course for his head. The Paris police soon tied up the contents of the dead
man's wallet with forensic evidence from the body. Added to that, Madame
Charente, the dead man's wife, could positively identify the body in the most
intimate ways. (She had already reported her husband as missing.)
A few men were despatched to poke around in the warm, dark tunnels on either
side of Odéon station, where the body had been found. Above ground another
search was made, equally fruitlessly, and to Inspector Dutruelle it looked as
though the case would linger on unsolved.
Two weeks later, four kilometres away in the west, a headless body was found
at Courcelles station, again in the tunnel not far from the platform. As in the
earlier case, the cause of death was apparently the severing of the head, which
appeared to have been done with some precision. Again, the body was fully
clothed and easily identified, and nothing but the head had apparently been
"What can I tell these blessed reporters?" Inspector Dutruelle said as he handed
his wife the two sticks of bread he usually bought on the way home. "They want
answers for everything. And it's not just the papers now, the politicians are
getting worried too. I'm reporting to the Préfet on this one."
"If there were instant answers for everything, mon petit chou, they'd have no
need of you," said Madame Dutruelle. "And where would they be without you?
Who cleared up that terrible Clichy case last year, and the acid bath at Reuilly
The little inspecteur divisionnaire-chef pulled in his stomach, puffed out his
chest and rose to his full height. A smile spread across his round face. In his
smart dark suit and gold-rimmed glasses you could have taken him for a
provincial bank manager rather than one of Paris's most successful policemen.
"Just think," he said wryly, "they were actually about to close the file on Dr
Gomes before I took charge of the investigation."

"They're fools, all of them."
"All the same, my dear, I don't know where to go on this one. There're no
leads. There's no apparent motive. And it's a bizarre pattern. Assuming, of
course, it is a pattern. We can't be sure of that until there's been another."
Inspector Dutruelle did not have long to wait for his pattern to emerge. A
telephone call at half past five the next morning dragged him from his bed.
"It's another one, sir," said the voice at the other end.
"Another what?"
"It's identical. Another headless corpse, just like the others - male, middleaged, white."
"Where?" asked Inspector Dutruelle fumbling for a cigarette.
"Château Rouge."
"In the Metro?"
"Yes sir, just inside the tunnel. In the anti-suicide well between the tracks."
"Close the line - if you haven't already. I'll be with you soon. And don't move it,
d'you hear?"
Inspector Dutruelle replaced the receiver with a sigh as his wife padded into the
"I hate these early morning cases," he muttered. He lit his cigarette.
"Have a coffee before you go. Another dead body will keep."
"But we've closed the line. And it's the other side of town, my dear. North
"All the same."
He sat down heavily and watched his wife sullenly as she made the coffee.
Madame Dutruelle was a simple woman of forty-six whose long, thin-lipped face
was framed by stern grey hair. Her strong, practical hands were country hands,
and she had never got used to city life. She lived for the day when she and her
husband would retire to their home village in Les Pyrenées. Inspector Dutruelle
sighed to himself again. Poor Agnes. She tried so hard to please him. How could
she know that he longed to be free of her? How could she possibly know of

It never occured to me to look at another woman." "And after thirty years in the force you're not?" "Personally. "And for me too. I believe her when she says she loves me. Life was strange. I'm captivated by her." he said. In the frantic coloured spotlights of the Chatte et Lapin Vololona danced solo and in her vitality you sensed the wildness of Madagascar. married?" Inspector Dutruelle leaned back in his chair and swung around to look at the other customers applauding Vololona from the shadows. her large brown eyes welling with tears as they gazed at him through the smoke of the Chatte et Lapin where she worked. He knew exactly what was on their minds. Pierre. Pierre. about the source of his happiness. There was always my work. with a Malagasy accent and huskiness that left you with a sense of mystery and promise. in thirty years of marriage I was never unfaithful. "You know. and you could never tell." Vololona had been quick to agree. his closest friend. "I can see. Her black limbs lashed the air to the music." he said one evening when he took Monsieur Chébaut to see Vololona dancing. Well.three times her age. Isn't she the most exquisite thing you ever saw? And she adores me. But something happened when I met Vololona. Pierre." She spoke French well. . "a veritable coup de foudre. She showed me what real ecstasy is. pot-bellied. "I've never felt like this before. Look at her. But why.Vololona." Monsieur Chébaut was a lawyer. Monsieur Chébaut finished his whisky. tall and handsome and virile. but he was careful to tell no-one except Monsieur Chébaut. Pierre. I ask you? What can she see in me . She's crazy about me. and I was happy enough at home. and the children. Inspector Dutruelle was a happy man. the young Malagasy he had met while on the Clichy case? For him it had been love at first sight. Some of them were young men. he thought. yet none of them knew Vololona as he knew her. you know that already. Another whisky?" . She showed me how to live. It was a rare experience. "You're a cynic. . I just don't know why. even for the jaded Monsieur Chébaut. which was raw and sensual. bald . He smiled proudly to himself. "that a man in your position might have certain attractions for an immigrant without papers working in one of the more dangerous quarters of Paris. my darling.

Tall." said the Inspector brusquely. But I must agree. you've got two women involved. "When you haven't even spoken to her." "But Régis." Of course." "Sometimes I wonder if I ought to tell her something. Régis." Inspector Dutruelle glowered at his old schoolfriend and said nothing. He lit another Gauloise. one thing's for sure. he was the antithesis of Inspector Dutruelle. She intends to keep you. They can't help it. She's cleverer than you are." "But all women are the same." "Mind you. then you'd know it. "How can you say that?" he snapped. One way or another things'll come to a head. But anyway. "Look. He grinned amicably and leaned across to slap his friend playfully on the shoulder. Or his luck. Régis. Monsieur Chébaut could see he had touched a raw nerve." Monsieur Chébaut nearly choked on the fresh whisky he had just put to his lips. she just laughs and says she can't believe it. She must know something's going on. you haven't got my experience. black. When it came to women few men had Monsieur Chébaut's experience. all I'm saying is. you know. if only out of decency. He was one of those people who go through life insulated from difficulties."Well. slim. "and women aren't like us. she's exquisite all right. those soft. with boyish good looks and thick. He never reconciled bank accounts. wavy hair. that was true. He crossed roads without looking." "She hasn't said anything. Like an exquisite Venus fly-trap. it can't go on without something happening. succulent petals will close around you like a vice. it can't go on like that." said Inspector Dutruelle grudgingly. for that matter. Believe she says. Don't you know that? You should be a lawyer. About me and another woman. Agnes isn't stupid. He did not hurry for trains. "Of course she hasn't." Monsieur Chébaut continued. . be careful. "Look Régis." The normally placid Inspector was piqued by his friend's unreasonable attitude. they're built that way. you must know that what we say and what we think are seldom the same. "she has had some odd dreams recently . And at the germane moment. Régis.

"So as we know which heads we're looking for. I don't know what. Vololona had suddenly. non? In any case. even if she did mention it. or walked more hastily down the long corridors between platforms. who habitually hung around the crowded stations or made impassioned speeches in the carriages. they're more like dog and cat. "But you know I'm married." Now the European press had picked the story up and the little Inspector did not know how to deal with the international reporters who hung around like flies outside the old stone walls of the Préfecture de police. Puppeteers and jugglers no longer entertained passengers with impromptu performances." "It's no use looking for logic in women. having accepted his financial assistance to terminate the pregnancy . . I told you. had gone. His mind." Inspector Dutruelle was stunned. "never. We are doing everything possible. They wanted constantly to know more. Régis. they're not like men." "So much for logic. and tearfully." he told a press conference. You can tell your readers that wherever they are. C'est bizarre. ma chérie." he cried with a passion that surprised the Inspector. announced that she was pregnant. It was a joke that was not shared by the people of Paris. Men and women aren't like dog and bitch. Écoute Régis. but something. You can only tell a woman there's another when you've definitively made up your mind to leave her. "we are at least as anxious as you to recover the missing parts. you must deny it. gentlemen. I do know you can't keep two women on the go without something happening. "I assure you. already excited over Vololona. Even if she caught the two of you in the act. we'll find them. Buskers no longer worked the coaches between stations. I've come to the conclusion that they're not even the same species as men.she told him one day on the telephone: "I thought you were going to ask me to marry you." "Can we have photographs of the victims for our readers?" asked one of the foreign reporters. and the idea that there were three severed heads somewhere in Paris particularly excited them. And the few passengers who remained sat more long-faced than ever. In fact. you must deny everything.but refusing his offer to take her to the clinic . Their stories focussed on the bizarre nature of the killings. Then. Inspector Dutruelle despaired of ever clearing the case up."No. Even the beggars. you must never tell her. and even then it may not be safe. So of course did Inspector Dutruelle. was now in a turmoil." he said. Suddenly the normally carnival atmosphere of the Metro had evaporated." added a journalist from London.

. I love you too much." "No. . when you thought about it. "But darling. sir. "God knows what it's like normally."I thought you'd leave Agnes." commented France-Soir. And if only Vololona would be satisfied with what he gave her already . It was cramped. we can still see each other.the dinners. Marc. "It appears. "I wanted to be with you. "that the only thing Inspector Dutruelle can tell us with certainty is that with each fresh atrocity the Metro station name grows longer. and it seemed that something might be learned by taking the Metro between them. and in the summer it was hot." "That's Barbes Rochechouart. my life . "it's too hot. I've had enough. When the train pulled in they took the exit for Boulevard de Rochechouart." "No. Inspector Dutruelle did not like public transport. Perhaps Pierre was right after all. Day and night his thoughts were on Vololona. and he especially did not like the Metro. he longed to be with her. You stood on the very edge of the platform just to feel the breeze as the blue and white trains pulled into the station. the apartment. It was left to the security police of the Metro to point out one rather obvious fact: that the three stations where bodies had been found had one thing in common ." Inspector Dutruelle could hear her sobbing. If only Agnes would leave him. Why did women have to possess you? It seemed that the more you gave them the more they took. His superiors complained about his lack of progress and the press ridiculed him without pity." Inspector Dutruelle wiped his brow. . It was years since the Inspector had used the Metro. We can get out there. Inspector Dutruelle had no suspect. it's too painful. We can change there. . my child . no leads. Marc" he said to the young Detective Constable who was travelling with him. He sounded irritable." Inspector Dutruelle could not concentrate on his work at all. I wanted to share everything with you . ." he added. until there was nothing left to give but yourself. my bed. no motive. ." The detectives under him could not understand what had happened to their normally astute Inspector. and they felt leaderless and demoralised. Someone else can take a sauna. smelly and claustrophobic at the best of times. "I can't take much more of this." she replied. The investigation into the Metro murders was proceeding dismally. .their lines intersected at Metro Barbes Rochechouart. We'll get off at the next stop. we need to have a look around. Anyway. the presents.

Vololona had at last agreed to see him. Paris." He passed a handkerchief across his brow again. "How d'you mean?" asked Inspector Dutruelle. But Inspector Dutruelle's passion for Vololona did not cool with the season. normally this station's packed . bored with the lack of developments. . "What a lot of mumbo-jumbo! Headless chickens and voodoo magic. we use some of these techniques in the police.after all. yes. pushing the card into his top pocket. the Parisiens came back and life returned to normal. "but round here they take that sort of thing seriously. from Eiffel Towers to cabbages and potatoes not to mention a spot of cannabis or heroin." said the Detective Constable as they walked up the passage towards the escalator. Glancing down at it and squinting in the bright sunlight. At the turnstyles a man was handing out publicity cards and he thrust one into Inspector Dutruelle's hand." said the Detective Constable with a laugh." "It may be mumbo-jumbo to you. deserted by its citizens in the yearly exodus to the coast. And not only round here .'" He broke off in mid-sentence with a snort." said Inspector Dutruelle. and the media. don't we?" "Oh really? Such as?" "Well. left Inspector Dutruelle to his original obscurity. buskers."At least we can get through now. You can get anything here. sir.beggars. vaguely. Then. and maybe when you're older you won't be so sure. occasionally.Grand Médium Voyant can help you succeed rapidly in all areas of life . the Inspector read aloud: "'Professor Dhiakobli. It's like a damn great fair and market rolled into one." said Inspector can hardly call basing a murder case on the size of someone's handwriting scientific. can you sir? Or what about astrology employing people on the basis of the stars? Or numerology. "Well. graphology for a start . plus all their tables and stalls. "maybe you're right. . in September. was tolerable only to the tourists with backpacks who flocked to the cheap hotels and began again to crowd the Metro. but she always managed . "I remember." "Oh." The hot July turned to hotter and more humid August. No more bodies were found in the sweltering tunnels of the Metro. Marc. Now get on the blower and call the car. hawkers. passengers." "Yes.

"All problems resolved . Dhiakobli will come behind you like a dog.(with tears in her eyes) to deflect his more amorous advances. For Inspector Dutruelle it was beneath him to observe that he continued to pay the rent on her apartment. even desperate cases. Tourists with their Deutschmarks arrived by the busload and the touts in dark glasses worked hard to coax them into the expensive sex shows and neon-lit video clubs. 6th floor. the scene filled him with dismay. or saw a male visitor take the lift to the seventh floor. this is his domain. the Inspector bent and picked it up. His superiors had given up hope of solving the Metro murders and had moved him on to other things. and in the evenings he took to prowling the broad Boulevard de Clichy between her apartment and the Chatte et Lapin. sexual potency. 13b. having been told that her husband was working on a case. a little the worse for having been once or twice to the cleaners. and perhaps believing it. He picked it up and slowly started to read: PROFESSOR DHIAKOBLI Grand Médium Voyant can help you succeed rapidly in all areas of life: luck. it was . And yet. as locals strolled past with their dogs or sat on the benches under the plane trees. The notion that she had another lover obsessed him. Payment after results. for Inspector Dutruelle had always been meticulous with his clothes. door on left Metro: Barbes Rochechouart Inspector Dutruelle stood in his socks and braces reading the card over and over again. Occasionally he would see Vololona leave her apartment to buy cigarettes. but Inspector Dutruelle had no more interest in that. All problems resolved. . Money and music were in the air. but he never once saw her on the arm of another man. Then he realised it was the card he had been given at the metro station. love. . Madame Dutruelle. marriage. Had she been awake she would surely have been surprised to see him throw his jacket over a chair. But the jacket missed and dropped to the floor. Lovers sipped coffee in the open and watched the whores in their doorways." It was preposterous. and as he did so something fell from the top pocket. he returned from the Boulevard de Clichy just after midnight. Somewhere deep below ran the Metro. but still legible. Muttering to himself. the sort of man who irons his shoelaces. If you desire to make another love you or if your loved one has left with another. 75018 Paris staircase B. Sometimes he would stay all night. late in October. Every day from 9am to 9pm. Pigeons fluttered as girls in tight mini-skirts hurried to work. He will create between you a perfect rapport on the basis of love. One night. He gazed at it blankly for a moment. rue Beldamme. leaving to the tinkle of broken glass as workmen swept up after the night's revelries. examinations. Sometimes he would stand for hours watching her door. denied the one thing here he wanted. you will be loved and your partner will return. Prof. attraction of clients. but he was growing increasingly frustrated. was already asleep. Now.

It lay close to the busy crossroads straddled by Metro Barbes Rochechouart. He stood there. He had a short yet commanding figure. its wide. the heavy bracelet on his right wrist and the watch on his left." Inspector Dutruelle handed his coat and gloves to the Professor and sat in the large. but he must remain here whenever I leave France. and was dressed in a well tailored grey suit. Around him the large room was like . He stepped through into a narrow courtyard and found his way to the sixth-floor door on which a brass plaque read: "Professor Dhiakobli Spécialiste des travaux occultes Please ring". It is my country you know. Rue Beldamme was a backstreet of tenement buildings in Paris's eighteenth arrondissement. silk handkerchief fell from his top pocket." said the man with an elegant wave of the hand and exaggerated courtesy. The door to number 13b was swinging in the wind. It is only now that I return from Côte d'Ivoire. Paris in summer is so disagreeable. don't you agree?" Professor Dhiakobli glittered with success. monsieur.tempting. "For the moment. Professor Dhiakobli himself settled behind a large mahogany desk. and before he could press the bell the door opened and a man appeared. breathing heavily from the stairs." said the Professor. sir. ?" As Inspector Dutruelle had imagined. . From his manner and cultured French accent it was evident that he was an educated man. and let us talk about the matter. I see that Zeus approves of you. cursing because he had not brought his umbrella. "Ah. The frames of his glasses.all were of gold. an area popular with immigrants from francophone Africa." said Inspector Dutruelle." "Monsieur has perhaps some small problem with which I can help? A minor indiscretion? Please be seated. my dear sir. What harm could there be in a little hocus pocus when everything else had failed? After all. . stroking the tiny dog with the tips of his manicured fingers. well upholstered chair to which he had been directed. mon petit papillon. "I am Dhiakobli. Professor Dhiakobli was black. And you are fortunate. "my name is hardly important. "Poor Zeus. I've only come in response to your advertisement. the gem-studded rings on his fingers . Inspector Dutruelle parked in the next street and walked the rest of the way. "Please enter. its dark paint peeling badly. A large. his own unblinking eyes also fixed on Inspector Dutruelle. everyone knew that even the police used clairvoyants when they were really up against it. I return there for a few months each summer. on top of which a chihuahua hardly bigger than a mouse was lounging. And I have the honour to meet . moist eyes gazing disdainfully at the newcomer. he is devoted to me.

as a mark of good faith. monsieur."first of all. his smile revealing a set of large white teeth that shone brilliantly in the dimness against his black skin. I wondered what sort of things you can help people with. And for that a consultation is in order. "Well. Heavy curtains excluded the daylight (the only illumination was a small brass desklamp) and the dark. what exactly do you do . But for a preliminary consultation." began Inspector Dutruelle. "Mon cher monsieur. a nominal sum." Inspector Dutruelle shifted in his seat. Nothing you may choose to tell me will go beyond these walls. You could not help being struck by the incongruity of this bizarre scene in the roughest quarter of Paris. . "I saw your card and I wondered just how you work. . ignoring the Professor's question. how do you operate? That's to say. There was a sweet smell in the air." "And may one enquire as to monsieur's little difficulty?" Inspector Dutruelle cleared his throat and tried to adopt as nonchalant an air as he could. "As I say. a trifle. I too recoil at the mere thought of it. For a gentleman of your obvious standing. And let me assure you. and in one corner of the room the feathers of a ceremonial African headgear lay draped inappropriately over an enormous American refrigerator. let us not talk of money. cost?" Professor Dhiakobli wrung his hands and shrugged amicably. anything at all." . . is usually in order. "And what would a consultation involve? What does it . I wondered. "Anything." He paused. . of my absolute discretion." "And then. costumes. and how do you charge?" "Ah monsieur.a shrine. It has been my mission in life to help those who have suffered misfortune. to assist those who have little to offer. . who am I to refuse their offering? They pay according to their means." he said slowly. First I must learn just how I can help you. I do understand how distasteful it is to you to discuss so vulgar a matter as money.he coughed again . "My dear sir." The Professor's eyebrows rose. monsieur. photographs and other African memorabilia. And if some donate a small token of their gratitude. a mere two hundred francs. red walls were festooned with spears.

and began to tell the Professor of the dilemma that was tearing at his soul." continued Professor Dhiakobli. to recreate again the rapport of their youth. He told him of the young Malagasy girl he had met while entertaining clients. You will understand that it is not easy. Monsieur Mazodier was at his wits' end and now even his business was suffering. very slowly. "Écoutez monsieur. you are married. In the second. . a jardin secret. of her sudden irrational refusal any longer to give herself to him. At the mercy of their complex physical structure. "My dear Monsieur Mazodier. From what I have told you. and I shall be required to work my influence on not one but two women. But you must understand that it will not be easy. is it any wonder that women are such emotional creatures? I help them find their lost ones. I don't think I can tell you any more. Perhaps it is natural that most of my lovelorn clients should be women. It calls for a special ceremony. it is clear to me that this young girl has chained your heart with her magic. Then his teeth flashed in the dimness. Inspector Dutruelle decided that he had nothing to lose by talking." said the Inspector." he said at last. The Professor appeared to be in another world. we are both men of the world. almost mechanically. Each of us has a hidden corner in his life. my domain. Professor Dhiakobli. but seemed to be looking through him. a Parisien wine merchant. He stared at Inspector Dutruelle. the magic of Madagascar is very . this is my work. But this is my work. The Professor listened intently." he repeated. Yet it is rare indeed for men to come to me with problems such as yours." The Professor gave a start.Then he threw out his hands and added with a grin: "They have the sanctity of the confessional. My domain. their partners of many years." "So you can't help me?" said Inspector Dutruelle. of their instant and passionate love for one another. and you will not be offended if I remark upon the extreme disparity in your ages. And finally. Again. asking appropriate questions at appropriate moments. "But monsieur still has the advantage of me . I think that's all I can tell you. Finally Inspector Dutruelle said: "Well. "the story you have told me is most poignant. monsieur. He feared that if he did not find a resolution to his problem he might do something that he or others would regret. In the first place. He adopted the name of Monsieur Mazodier." "I'm glad to hear it. . adding despondently: "Perhaps what I really need is a head-shrink. do you believe you can help me?" For a long time there was silence. for a long time he did not answer. and of the wife he now knew he should never have married but whom he had not the heart to leave. You know. "Certainly I can help you.

The Professor's eyes were still fixed on Inspector Dutruelle. on the life you have dreamed of. you must leave that to me. "Oh. . "Let's say fifteen thousand before and fifteen afterwards. monsieur. You must picture the fragile young child you so yearn for . But one cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs. monsieur." "What sort of sacrifices?" asked Inspector Dutruelle dully. your nights. you will return for the ceremony.if I am to have a spiritual tête-à-tête with each of them. After all." the Professor went on as though his visitor had not spoken. It will take place beyond those curtains. my dear sir. in your delight. I have faith in your gratitude. how confident I am of success?" Inspector Dutruelle did not reply. . or to propose quite so generous a token." he said. "we must make sacrifices. . He was confused. "Shall we say thirty thousand francs?" "I'm sorry?" muttered the Inspector. Sometimes ." Inspector Dutruelle muttered as the Professor's words came to life in his mind. . I must know them in every detail . Is it not worth a considerable sum?" "It certainly would be worth a lot . You must envisage your wife . "Do you see. monsieur. Enduring love cannot be bought with money alone.strong. ." He hesitated and looked Inspector Dutruelle straight in the eye. say a scarf or a hat. monsieur. "Sometimes. So. And with some little articles of clothing. . . You can arrange this?" Inspector Dutruelle nodded blankly. your days . Your mind must be fixed on the future. what was thirty thousand francs to achieve what he craved so desperately? And. The perfect solution to all your problems. monsieur.happy in the arms of another. sharing your life . in fifteen days. In eight days you will return with photographs and details of Madame Mazodier and the Malagasy. you must not allow me to detain you further. "You must not concern yourself with technicalities. monsieur. . in any case. . He had not expected the Professor to be so blunt. I know that you will not forget. We have much work to do. But it did not seem to matter. . his own eyes suddenly cold and vacant. "Of course. secure in your arms . something close to their thoughts. . No. . at worst it was only fifteen thousand. And now. "Excellent. it will not be easy. in the space reserved . I can undo." His cold eyes remained fixed on the Inspector and he spoke in a monotone without pausing for breath. that what I have done.

but nevertheless it is imperative that you be present on the day. through the open end of the court.the ceremony cannot be deferred. but he wants you anyway. sir.she was bound to be polishing the brasses by the time he reached the ground floor. boiling water for his coffee. The Préfet's ordered us to call you specially. and above him the sky was black. He gave a shiver and pushed the windows shut. He showered and dressed. switched the lights off in the living room and kitchen. what is it?" "Sorry to disturb you at this time of the morning. shall we say Monday the sixteenth?" Inspector Dutruelle did not sleep well on the night of the fifteenth of December. but he looked helplessly at the croissants he had spread clumsily with jam. He appreciates you're not on duty. "Yes. Then he put the keys of the Renault in his coat pocket and checked that he had everything. "Inspector Dutruelle?" said the voice at the other end. His nerves were on edge as he fiddled around in the kitchen. Can you manage six in the morning. he drew the duvet back and looked at his wife as she slept. He closed the front door again and hurried to answer the phone so that his wife should not wake. He looked into the bedroom. Though his wife stirred she did not wake. Then he pulled the windows open and leaned on the railing. Below him the courtyard was dark and silent." said Inspector Dutruelle with as much irritation as his whispering voice could convey. At four o'clock in the morning he got out of bed." "Well. It startled him and he cursed aloud. her arms clasped about her knees. and you must come without fail . a violet hue was creeping over Paris. Then he closed the bedroom door silently behind him." "It's quite impossible. finishing his cigarette. Nobody but I and my assistants may enter there. It's the Préfecture. He drank two cups. Gently. that's the point. It must be at dawn. strong and black. and opened the front door. He wondered what the concierge would make of it all . leaving at that time of the morning without an official car and driver.for the ancestral spirits. As he did so the telephone rang." ." "Never mind the time. He glanced at his watch. But away in the east. It would seem strange. He leaned over and touched his lips to her cheek." "I'm afraid he insists. Inspector. "I'm off duty today. It was a quarter past five and time to fetch the car. Monsieur l'Inspecteur. He lit a Gauloise and paced the room.

" A cold shiver passed through the Inspector. I'll be ready in five minutes. He was cursing to himself. sir. grey blur to him. A young black girl . Inspector Dutruelle looked at the winter mists rising from the Seine. He was staring blankly through the glass to his right." But Inspector Dutruelle was not listening. and as they turned at Place du Châtelet the empty streets were no more than a cold. we've just heard they've found two of them now. "Well. sir." Inspector Dutruelle did not reply. He was cursing the Préfet. For a start. The car swung onto the broad Boulevard de Sébastopol and accelerated northwards to cover the three kilometres to Metro Barbes Rochechouart. "I presume it's the same as the others?" he asked. the police. in as much as there's nothing to go on. . We're sending a car round for you." he said wearily to the Detective Sergeant he had found waiting for him in the car. in her forties. And this time they're women. decapitated again. sir. One white. his wife."Why?" "He insists you come on duty immediately." "Yes. it's the same. His dreams." The big black Citroen was soon speeding away from Rue Dauphine and heading north across Pont Neuf. but why?" "It's the Metro again. all right.still in her teens. It was the route he should have been taking in his own car." "The Metro?" "Yes. "You'd better brief me on this as quick as you can. sir. Otherwise it couldn't be more different. "Where was the body found?" "Barbes Rochechouart. They've found another corpse on the line. and one black. this homicidal maniac. yes. sir." "Yes. Why today? Why ever today? "Sir? Hello sir? The car'll be with you in five minutes. I understand. it seemed. were evaporating just as surely. by the look of things.

"I told you in the car. on the number four line. "She's forty-seven. like his wife. Not like the other one. He played its beam over the body. Name of Madame Catherine Dubur. for that matter." said somebody beside him. up and down the long. its colour. its build. everything pointed to Vololona." he said. Yet it was uncanny how this body reminded him of her and the other of Agnes. That was certainly not Vololona. Both bodies lay where they had been spotted by the first train-drivers through that morning. black limbs that stuck out awkwardly across the railway lines. A uniformed policeman pulled back the blanket that covered the second body. now closed to passengers." "The other one?" said the Inspector blankly. Inspector Dutruelle stared dispassionately at the stiff. "We don't know. "there's two of them. sir?" asked the policeman. in large. sir . Inspector Dutruelle got out of the car. "Your torch. green handwriting. coarse and wiry. He hesitated." said a policeman. Inside. "French. Yet the body's size. which lay on its back. Suddenly he shuddered in alarm. He tried to control his voice.this is all we found. handing him a tattered greetings card. Underground.Outside the station. . quite unexceptional. "Identity?" he asked. Even the ages were the same. Even in the dim lights of the train that was pulled up beyond you could see the resemblance to Vololona. from Everyone in Antananarivo." They strolled in their overcoats to the other end of the platform and went down the little steps that led to the track. Inspector Dutruelle looked impassively at the first one. Monsieur l'Inspecteur. He stood up in relief. It was the body of a middle-aged woman. there was an air of gloom. then held out an open hand. sir." "D'you think she's Malagasy. slender legs. please. The Inspector shrugged his shoulders." said the Detective Sergeant at his ear. At least he did not recognise the clothes. were the words: "Happy Nineteenth Birthday." "You'd better show me. across the clothes. He shrugged and went down the station steps. people were standing around under the street lights with their collars up. He bent down and flashed the light onto the fingers of the left hand and laughed weakly to himself as he saw the tawdry rings that glinted back at him. He glanced towards Rue Beldamme (just a stone's throw away across the bleak Boulevard de Rochechouart) where the Professor would be waiting for him.

while beside him men's voices were thrumming in his ear. he hesitated. He took out his cigarette case and lit another Gauloise." The Préfet was beside himself with rage at this further disturbance to his sleep. putting his hand to his breast pocket. Was the magic of Madagascar really so strong that now he saw Vololona everywhere? And what of Agnes? How would Professor Dhiakobli explain that? How could he explain it. ." For a moment. he had explained very little. and free enough with his words ." he answered quietly. "Now get me the Préfet. sir?" said somebody beside him. when he's got his pictures they can move the bodies and fix things up." he muttered to himself. And Professor Dhiakobli. "What time is it?" "Six-fifteen. "The devil. . Suddenly he understood everything. you have the killer at last!" "In fifteen minutes. to extricate himself from this nightmare? He cursed himself. man? You're in the middle of an investigation!" "The investigation is over. when you came to think of it? When you came to think of it. Inspector Dutruelle gasped. "Écoute Guy." "So. Through its curling blue smoke. "Are you insane. He could not understand. Monsieur le Préfet. Why was there no time to think. He had been happy enough to take the money. sir.all those grandiose notions of mission and sacrifice and spiritual tête-à-têtes . monsieur.He smoked as he stood staring at the headless corpse. back-lit by the lights of the train. in fifteen minutes. and he exploded with indignation when Inspector Dutruelle offered his resignation. What madness had driven him to this? Then he cursed himself again. How could he have been so stupid? He cursed his wife and Vololona. Then he called for the Detective Sergeant who was with the photographer at the other body. the black limbs were splayed out in a grotesque dance." he said. "Never mind." . His heart had started to pound with a sense of danger and his head suddenly ached with questions. "The what. and turned abruptly to one of the men babbling at his side.

my position is impossible." he answered calmly as he took another cigarette from his silver cigarette case. ."Then why in the name of God are you asking to be relieved from duty?" "Monsieur le Préfet. On this occasion it was I that paid the killer.

amicably adverb in a friendly way The taxi driver amicably offered the poor lady a free ride. atrocity noun very cruel happening or treatment It was an atrocity when George's friends locked him outside in the snow with no shoes or socks. s I need . bleak adjective discouraging. Joe and John are the antithesis of each other. blower noun (slang) the telephone Sandy got on the blower with her sister as soon as she heard the juicy gossip.Vocabulary NB: the meaning given for each word is contextual meaning. Word Part of Speech Contextual Meaning Example Sentence advances noun approaches of a sexual nature The waitress didn't appreciate theadvances from the men in the bachelor party. astute adjective crafty.The Metro . antithesis noun the complete opposite Even though they are identical twins. bizarre adjective very strange It was so bizarre when the clown at the party knelt down and asked Judy to marry him. Some of these words have other meanings not shown here. clever The astute fisherman had the hole in the boat patched before it sunk. brief me verb give me the "Can you brief me on the background condition of the patient?" the information/detail doctor asked the nurse. that is to say it is the specific meaning of the word within the context of the story. unappealing I couldn't believe that homeless people were living in that bleak alley. amorous adjective full of passion The couple that met on the beach had anamorous relationship for one week.

brusquely adverb quickly. abruptly The woman brusquely pointed out the thief in the line up of criminals. captivated past participle unable to stop looking at something The young children were captivated by the fireworks display. concierge noun resident caretaker I asked the concierge to call a for apartments or taxi for room 101. caught in the act idiom found in the middle of doing something (here. coax verb persuade gently Can I coax you into buying some chocolates for charity? come to a head verb come to a point where you can't ignore something any more The couple's financial problems came to a head when Nancy became pregnant. hotel consultation noun a meeting to discuss possible future action or business The bride often goes for a hairconsultation before her big day in the salon. street cannabis noun drug from a hemp The police found cannabis in plant the house where the thieves were living. cramped adjective having no spare It was so cramped on the bus . clairvoyants noun people who claim they are able to see the future I asked Becky if she was a clairvoyantbecause she always knows when I am dating someone new. corpse noun dead body The shipmates buried the corpse at sea. Chihuahua noun tiny breed of Mexican dog Chihuahuas have huge eyes for such little dogs. but I was tooclaustrophobic. having sex) I caught my aunt and uncle in the act in our basement when I was a child. claustrophobi adjective c afraid of small spaces I tried to sleep in the attic. buskers noun people who beg or I gave the buskers a few entertain for dollars to play my favourite money on the song.

Deutschmarks noun German currency (pre Euro) I transferred my American savings intoDeutschmarks before I went to Germany. dismally adverb gloomily. deferred past participle put off until later My holiday time was deferred because our company was so busy this summer. prisoners were decapitatedafter committing serious crimes. disdainfully adverb without respect.past wanted badly (often food) My sister craved peaches through her whole pregnancy. with dislike My grandmother stared at my new boyfriend disdainfully because of his long hair. cursing verb using bad or rude My uncle was cursing as the progressiv language Christmas lights fell off the that we had to sit on our bags.past very worried Amanda despaired because her husband was more than three hours late from work. craved verb . . decapitated past participle had one's head cut off Long ago. demoralized adjective having lost hope The demoralized cyclist put his damaged bike on his shoulders and walked to the finish line. without hope The children stared dismally out the window until the sun finally came out. e cynic noun a person who doesn't believe another is being sincere I never vote because I'm a cynic when it comes to politicians. despondently adverb without hope I despondently called for help but I knew there was nobody home. deflect verb turn away I always deflect phone calls from people trying to sell me something. despaired verb .

domain noun subject of interest Since I was five years old or expertise dancing has been my domain. envisage verb imagine I envisage my first home as an old farm in the country.dismay noun consternation. distress Rebecca was full of dismay when we jumped out from behind the couch.past decorated The hotel was festooned with streamers and balloons to welcome the celebrities. wonderful The queen looked exquisite in her royal gown. dispatched past participle sent to do something (often emergency services) The police dog team was dispatched to an area in the woods where the criminal had been spotted. disparity noun big difference There was quite a disparity between Anne and George's accounts of why their marriage failed. festooned verb . exquisite verb very beautiful. duvet noun heavy quilt filled with feathers We don't use our duvet on the bed in the summer. emerge verb come out from somewhere The mouse finally emerged from under the fridge. evaporated past participle disappeared All of the water in the frog's tank hadevaporated by the time we got home from our weekend away. extricate verb to let free They will extricate the prisoner if he is found not guilty. we just use a sheet. enduring adjective lasting a long time The minister wished the newlywedsenduring happiness and love. ecstasy noun great pleasure (often sexual) Eileen had never known true ecstasybefore she started dating Charles. . exodus noun mass departure There was an exodus of young people on the Monday of Spring break.

gazed verb .fetch verb run and get fiddled around verb .past stared at with wide eyes The children gazed at the field of sunflowers. The children flocked to the ice cream truck. grandiose adjective large and impressive The couple had grandiose dreams about winning the lottery. grotesque adjective disgusting. gratitude noun thankfulness The students showed their gratitude by sending their retired teacher flowers. . graphology noun the study of handwriting Police use graphology to tell if a suspect is nervous.past stared angrily I glowered at the bus driver who closed his doors just as I arrived at the stop. flocked verb .past did casual work Ben fiddled around with the using one's hands wires until he got the computer working again. grudgingly adverb without wanting to The child grudgingly took the garbage out for his mom. germane adjective At the germane moment the father walked in and heard the baby saying "Dad" for the first time. frisson noun shiver When I watched the car accident on the news it sent a frisson up my back. glowered verb . hastily adverb quickly with little We packed so hastily that I related to the situation If you want the dog to fetch the bone you have to throw it into the ocean.past went as a group forensic evidence noun scientific proof at The forensic evidence proved a crime scene (for that the murderer was male. example: blood) frantic adjective wild and scared The people grew frantic as the tornado got closer to the city. hard to look at The horror movie was so grotesque I had to walk out of the theatre. fruitlessly adverb unsuccessfully The baby fruitlessly pulled at the top of the jar of candy.

thought forgot my bathing suit. hocus pocus noun (slang) magic It was like hocus pocus when the door shut by itself. that might be embarrassing or morally wrong His indiscretion cost him his marriage. huskiness noun rough and dry voice Smokers often speak with a distincthuskiness. because the criminal that got away washomicidal. hue noun shades of colour When painting.past crossed paths in the middle The two highways intersected at the . heroin noun strong narcotic People who use heroin often drug derived from need help getting over their morphine addiction. intently adverb eagerly. intersected verb . imperative adjective very important It is imperative that you wear your seat belt during take-off. indiscretion noun something. homicidal adjective likely to kill someone The police were extremely concerned. incongruity noun quality of being out of place The only female felt the incongruity as the men stared at her during her workout. head-shrink noun psychiatrist Annie cries so much I think she might need a head-shrink. artists often blend manyhues. insulated past participle protected The front seat passengers were insulatedby the car's air bags. with interest We watched intently as Monica jumped from the airplane. impromptu adjective without being planned We took an impromptu vacation to Hawaii at Christmas. especially a sexual relationship. hawkers noun people who sell goods on the street I bought this necklace from somehawkers in Amsterdam.

jaded adjective tired or lacking enthusiasm after having too much of something The jaded playboy had completely lost interest in women. legible adjective readable print The photocopy of my driver's license is barely legible. line noun a route on a subway or metro I took the wrong subway line so I was late for my date. lovelorn adjective sad because one is not loved back by another The lovelorn man wrote 100 letters to his sweetheart but never got one in return.past hit violently Mark got stung after he lashed at the bee in his hair. memorabilia noun things you buy They sell lots of that remind you 1950's memorabilia in the of somewhere (for front lobby of the diner. mumbojumbo noun (slang) nonsense Most parenting books tell you a bunch ofmumbo-jumbo about . example: hats. irritable adjective grumpy I'm always irritable when it's this hot outside.downtown core. leads noun clues to solving a crime We don't have any leads except that the thief is driving a brown car. magnets) meticulous adjective precise. perfect My father is meticulous when it comes to balancing his finances. mahogany adjective reddish coloured wood The mahogany bookshelf doesn't go with the maple furniture. postcards. monotone noun voice with only one sound My science teacher is so boring because he speaks in a monotone. lashed verb . manicured adjective well kept fingernails My manicured nails would get ruined if we didn't have a dishwasher.

prowling verb searching secretly The thief progressiv was prowling through our e jewellery box when we got home. nominal adjective (of money) small you should raise your kids. a token There is just a nominal fee to cover the cost of coffee and sandwiches. placid adjective calm The placid woman sang a song in the elevator until the power was restored. plaque noun a flat ornament Each member on the baseball on which team got aplaque for coming in celebratory or second place. precision noun perfect accuracy Janice paints her nails with such precisionit looks like she gets them done professionally. rapport relationship I have a good rapport with my noun . preposterous adjective ridiculous. impossible to be true It was preposterous that the fourteen year old needed a babysitter. nonchalant adjective casual The driver was pretty nonchalant about the accident even though his car was destroyed. papers noun (informal) immigration forms Migel was living in America that legalize a without hispapers so he wasn't person to work or able to find legal work. publicity card noun small piece of paper (business card) that advertises your career or title My publicity card has my picture and my company's email address on it. stay in another country piqued past participle irritated The drivers were piqued by the way the cyclist slowed down the traffic. memorializing words are written poignant adjective emotionally moving The movie was so poignant I cried at the end.

so I'm not afraid to ask for vacation time. stern adjective holiness.boss. festivities ridiculed verb .past made fun of Leslie ridiculed her brother for always wearing mismatching socks. We were all sobbing at Angelica's farewell party. recoil verb move back in fear I can't help but recoil when they show operations on television.past spread wide apart The woman's arms were splayed out as her husband stepped off the plane. sanctity noun The sanctity of the church was questioned after the minister was arrested. important figure sobbing verb crying loudly progressiv e splayed verb . Our New Year's Eve revelries kept the neighbours awake until 5:00 am. severing noun the cutting off of The severing of his own arm was what saved the climber's life.past settled or reorganized (finances) resignation noun the giving up of a The president of the company job gave hisresignation after he found out his illness was very serious. save for preposition except for All of the girls at the party were wearing dresses save for Andrea. who always wears jeans. shrine noun a place dedicated My aunt's bedroom is like an to a religious or Elvis Presleyshrine. reconciled verb . revelries noun good times. purity strict I reconciled my loans and savings accounts after getting my inheritance. My grandfather was so stern that we had to eat every crumb on our dinner plate before we got up from the .

tawdry adjective cheap.table. unhappily The dog stood sullenly beside our suitcases before we left for our vacation. woke slightly The child stirred when the phone rang but thankfully went back to sleep. stirred verb . tolerable adjective just barely able to I can't stand talking to the man handle next door. sullenly adverb sulkily. . stunned past participle surprised I was stunned when my best friend told me she was moving to the other side of the world. I often straddledborders for photographs. trifle noun a very small amount This year's Christmas bonus was a triflecompared to last year's. thrust verb push or give forcibly Eric thrust Mia into the pool because she was taking so long to go in. but his wife is tolerable. straddled verb . tenement adjective divided into Our salon is in separate suites or a tenement building until we residences can buy our own place. of fake appearance The hostess was wearing a tawdry pearl necklace that looked like it came out of a cereal box.past stood on both sides When I went travelling. touts noun people who The touts on the street bother you to buy pressured us to buy their something perfumes and colognes.past moved in one's sleep. terminate verb put an end to I tried to terminate my magazine subscription but they keep sending me new issues. sweltering adjective very hot The bus was sweltering because there was no air conditioning. succulent adjective thick/juicy The succulent watermelon was exactly what we needed on such a hot summer day.

virile adjective masculine.turmoil noun great trouble Everyone is quitting because there is so much turmoil with our new boss. manly There were many virile competitors in the body-building event. welling verb filling with liquid progressiv e whores noun prostitutes. vaguely adverb unclearly I vaguely remember meeting you many years ago. turnstile noun entrance with revolving metal arms You pay for the subway at the turnstiles. life I was filled with a sense of vitalityfollowing the graduation ceremony. The sink was welling with soap and about to overflow. with strangers for money wits' end idiom no longer able to Mrs. The whores stand on the street women who have and wait for men to pick them sexual relations up. unfaithful adjective not keeping a promise to only have one sexual partner upholstered adjective covered with thick My material grandfather's upholstered chai r needs to be vacuumed. vitality noun energy. uncanny adjective difficult to explain It was uncanny how much the child looked like his adopted mother. veritable adjective rightly called The papers said the parade was averitable disaster because of the poor weather. Jones divorced her husband when she learned that he was being unfaithfulto her. I am at my wits' end trying to . voodoo adjective a practice which involves sticking pins in dolls in order to cause pain to human figures I was so mad when I saw my boyfriend with another woman that I actually thought about making a voodoo doll of her.

wrung verb . squeezed The woman wrung her hands tightly while the policeman wrote up her speeding ticket. wryly adverb said with a grin to "Adam got caught trying to show that an steal another car." his exunfortunate girlfriend said wryly.past clasped. . situation is humorous yearn for verb want intensely My parents tell everyone how much theyyearn for grandchildren.tolerate keep these ants out of the house.

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