A St-Cyr and Kohler investigation set in Occupied Paris during World War II.
St-Cyr of the Sret and Kohler of the Gestapo are ordered to investigate a bank robbery, but they would prefer to look for a missing neighbor, Joanne LaBelle. She responded to an advertisement seeking a beautiful girl between the ages of 18 and 22, with long hair and brown eyes, to be a model-mannequin. Now Joanne has vanished.
The robbery of the Crdit Lyonnais and the case of the missing girl begin to dovetail. Was Joanne kidnapped because she witnessed the theft? Or is there something even more sinister involved? Photographs scattered in the attic of an empty house overlooking the Palais Royal gardens show many girls similar to Joanne, naked, tortured, murdered. And do these crimes relate to Hermann Gring's imminent auction of looted art at the Jeu de Paume? Or to a mutilated World War I veteran who once lived in the abandoned house and who was rejected and betrayed by his fiancé, a beautiful brown-eyed model?
J. Robert Janes's Sandman was selected as a Notable Book of 1997 by The New York Times and was one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 1997.
The plot was hard to follow and the characters hard to keep track of. It was really work to try to follow it, and I kept having to go back and re-listen to parts to figure out what was going on. I especially had trouble telling the female characters apart, and completely missed the existence of some of the male characters until the end. Some of the pronunciations were odd. For example, the narrator kept pronouncing "breathed" as two distinct syllables -- "bree-thed." And I have never before heard "delicacy" pronounced with the accent on the second syllable -- "de- LICK-a-see. I found the narrator's French accent irritating, too, although given the plot, I don't know how it could have been avoided. Maybe an all-purpose upper-class English accent would have been less intrusive, though the characters are not English.
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