J. Robert Janes, Author Soho Press $22 (0p) ISBN 978-1-56947-119-7
Sandman, the previous title in Canadian author Janes's series about an unlikely team of detectives in Occupied France, was chosen by both PW and the New York Times as one of the best mysteries of 1997. This new title--only the fourth to appear here but actually written in 1994 and one of nine books in the series already published in England--is equally compelling. Chief Inspector Jean-Louis St-Cyr of the French S ret and Inspector Hermann Kohler, attached to the Gestapo in Paris, arrive in Lyon on the day before Christmas, 1942. They are investigating an arson fire in a movie house that has killed 183 people--many of them railway workers gathered to watch Jean Renoir's La B te humaine. ""They were a pair, these two detectives,"" a Nazi officer observes. ""St-Cyr was a patriot and therefore untrustworthy; Kohler a doubter of Germanic invincibility. They'd been in trouble with the SS far too many times."" And indeed, the two cops quickly raise the hackles of Lyon's top Nazis--including ambitious Obersturmf hrer Klaus Barbie--as they search for an arsonist known as Salamander who has struck at least three times previously. As in previous books in the series, sex--twisted and perverted by the times--plays a large part in the investigation. One example of Janes's artistry: in a city starved for food, he spends three richly ironic pages describing the remains of a Christmas Eve feast in an exclusive bordello without slowing down the action or lessening the power of his terrible vision of a world full of large and small crimes. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
Genre: Fiction
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