Lethal Beauty

Charles O'Brien, Author . Severn $28.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7278-6184-9

O'Brien's fourth Anne Cartier mystery falls short of the high standard set by earlier books in the series (Mute Witness , etc.), which explored issues of social justice and morality more deeply and offered more sympathetic supporting characters. Fortunately, the protagonists remain as engaging as ever: Anne, a teacher of the deaf, and her husband, Paul de Saint-Martin, provost of the Royal Highway Patrol. The couple and everyone else attending the 1787 opening of the Salon of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture at the Louvre are shocked by the unveiling of a portrait of the late Comtesse Virginie de Serre, whose visage has been replaced by a macabre skull. When the womanizing artist, Albert Bouchard, turns up stabbed to death early one morning, the subsequent investigation expands to include not only academy members but also several undesirable types who frequent the Louvre and Palais Royale. As usual, O'Brien vividly conveys the great inequalities within French society under Bourbon rule. Agent, Evan Marshall . (June)

Reviewed on: 05/16/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
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