cover image Masquerade


Walter Satterthwait, Satterwait. St. Martin's Press, $22.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-312-18629-6

Parallel stories told in the distinct voices of Jane Turner and Phil Beaumont (last seen together in Escapade) merge in this witty and beguiling mystery set in 1923 Paris. American expatriate Richard Forsythe, acknowledged dilettante and wastrel, is found dead in his hotel room with his German mistress, Sabine von Stuben. The police have ruled the deaths a double suicide, and the case is officially closed. But Richard's determined mother has hired the Pinkertons to delve into it, and Jane, a British operative who is placed undercover as governess to a different branch of the Forsythe family, gleans invaluable details from Richard's 18-year-old cousin--who is quite smitten with her. Her wry and perceptive observations are penned to a British friend. Phil, a shrewdly observant American, narrates his side of the story in a straight first-person voice. A Pinkerton who can work equally well with corrupt Parisian police, smug aristocrats, violent drug dealers or his gourmand French counterpart, Phil produces information that definitely suggests that Richard Forsythe was murdered. The book is wonderfully rich in detail and atmosphere, offering riveting scenes in sewers and salons, as well as over-the-top cameos by Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. Best of all, when Phil and Jane finally cross paths, they provide some electrifying moments. This deftly told mystery, a delightful mix of high society and the demimonde, offers readers a terrific imaginary junket. (July)