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Cruel Choices
French Revolution Series #6

by Charles O’Brien

      Anne Cartier and her husband Paul are back in Paris after their sojourn in Nice. Springtime might be the best time to view Paris, but this year the crops are failing. For many young people the only option is to leave the country and seek their fortune in the city, and this is what Lucie Gigot has done. But she has vanished, and as she was the tenant of Paul’s aunt Marie it is up to Anne to find out where she has gone. Her last location was the Palais Royal, in the company of Denis Grimaud, the valet of the notorious Marquis de Bresse.

Back in Paris, the seething political scene bubbles under this story of the type of corruption associated with those naughty aristos on the eve of the revolution. De Bresse is a follower of the Marquis de Sade, whose exploits are viewed as a sign of the times and thus the mood of the book is set. Sinister castles, prisons and prostitutes abound and it is up to Anne to cope with quite a convoluted case. I would like it all even better if Paul could appear as more than just somebody to give weight and legitimacy to Anne’s capable sleuthing. He continues to be more like a kindly employer than a husband, surely a rather strange thing even in a morganatic marriage. This notwithstanding, this is another highly readable entry in this always enjoyable and imaginative series.

The Book

Severn House
1 May 2007
Historical Crime - 1788, Paris
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NOTE: Deaf Characters

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
© 2006