For Colette Delavigne, one of France's youngest judges, life takes a terrifying twist when she returns from work one night to find her daughter has been abducted.
Henri Castang is sought out to investigate her vanishing and Delavigne's profession seems to have more than a little to do with the disappearance. To Castang this is no ordinary kidnapping.
Very slow moving for a police procedural. Considering it involves the abduction of a child -- a judge's child, at that -- the story shuffles along aimlessly, with many, many digressions, and with the investigator offering numerous theories and guesses, which do not seem to be based on the available evidence. Characters often act in bizarre, unbelievable ways: Would a woman who is desperate over her missing child be planning a party that she hopes will end in a spouse-swapping sex romp -- with the lead investigator? Stuff like that is just thrown in, as if perfectly expected and ordinary. I couldn't decide whether Freeling was doing it because readers of the mid-1970s, when he was writing, expected the French to be into "free" sex, or to keep us artificially interested in a story he had lost track of himself.
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