What happened to Jacques Gaillard? The brilliant teacher at the École Nationale d’Administration, who trained some of France’s best and brightest as future prime ministers and presidents, vanished ten years ago, presumably from Paris. This ten-year-old mystery inspires a bet—one that Enzo Macleod, a biologist teaching in Toulouse, France, instead of pursuing a brilliant career in forensics back home in Scotland, can ill afford to lose. The wager is that Enzo can find out what happened to Jacques Gaillard by applying new science to a cold case.
Enzo goes to Paris to meet journalist Roger Raffin, the author of a book on seven celebrated unsolved murders, the assumption being that Gaillard is dead. He needs Raffin’s notes, and armed with these, he begins his quest. It quickly has him touring landmarks such as the Paris catacombs and a château in Champagne, digging up relics and bones. Then Enzo finds the actual head of Jacques Gaillard. The artifacts buried with the skull set him to interpreting the clues they provide and following in someone’s footsteps—maybe more than one someone—seeking the rest of Gaillard’s remains and reviewing some ancient and recent history. As with any quest, it’s as much discovery as detection, and Enzo, despite all his missteps, proves to be an ace investigator, scientific and intuitive, who definitely meets his goals.
Peter May is a Scottish television screenwriter, novelist, and crime writer. He has won several literary awards for his novels.
©2006 Peter May (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“This travelogue-cum-murder mystery makes for a fun puzzle.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A thoroughly engaging puzzle.” (Library Journal)
I guess if believable characters and a plausible plot are not important, a reader might enjoy the atmosphere. The book does have a sense of place.
Have the protagonist act more rationally. I can take a certain amount of silliness if the character is drawn as a silly irrational person. Peter May created a forensic biologist who just does not act believably to me.
Also he could have had more than one inevitable villain. Without the clues, the lady after her introduction was so obviously going to turn out to be the villain.
The only writer who has ever pulled off the murder by a group was Agatha Christie and she made the victim so detestable that it made sense that a group decide to cooperate in the murder. May did not give any clues that the victim was hated so vehemently.
Someone less dramatic. He rather took over the book by making every line of dialogue so dramatic.
Actually, it was promising at first then I could not wait for it to be over.
The plot just made no sense. I think that is what bothered me most.
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