A gruesome arson case takes St-Cyr and Kohler to Lyon....
In a packed movie theater, an usher notices two women enter and leave just before the show begins. Moments later, the theater goes up in flames, and 183 people perish in the stampede to escape. By the time investigators Jean-Louis St-Cyr and Hermann Kohler arrive from Paris, the charred bodies are frozen solid.
It is two days before Christmas, 1942, and the people of Lyon are terrified. As the detectives try to unravel what happened in that packed movie house, the arsonists plan their next attack. Saving Lyon from fire will force St-Cyr and Kohler to confront the worst of human nature, in a city lorded over by one of the most infamous Nazis of the Second World War.
I absolutely love this series. I think it is one of the best out there. It is very atmospheric and you get the feel of wartime France. The plots are intriguing and full of twists and turns. The two detectives are very likable nut not the heroic type that populate so many American Detective Fiction.
Now you do have to pay attention as the story is quite intricate and involved and not like a lot of detective stores that are pretty straightforward and go in a single line to the end.
This is not straight detective work as the two men are also dealing with the political structure of wartime France which often mean the intrigues of the Gestapo and political implication of what they are doing. There are always important officials that have to be satisfied and placated in the course of the investigation.
Both detectives have a lot of personal worries connected with wartime. For Kohler it is the worry about his two sons on the Eastern Front during the Battle of Stalingrad and for St. Cyr it is his marriage - his wife had left him in the first book (Mayhem) because he was never home and had run off with a German officer.
So some time is taken up with the worries both men have about their personal lives -- some times they talk to each other about these - other times it is mental thing as they think about their personal problem while they can't sleep or on a trip to a site.
I think the reader is perfect. He has a heavy French accent and at time pronounces English word with the accent on a different syallable than an English speaker would. I did not find it disconcerting but rather for me it added to the story.
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