cover image The Silent Executioner

The Silent Executioner

Marcel Allain, Pierre Souvestre. William Morrow & Company, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-07265-0

Like the gaslit mists of the Paris netherworld in the wicked '90s, like the presence of evil itself, Fantomas will not go away. The seemingly invincible fiendFrench counterpart of Sherlock Holmes's nemesis Professor Moriarty, as cunning Inspector Juve is of the English sleuthis the arch-villain of 20 thrillers featuring the indomitable opponents written by two Frenchmen between 1911 and 1914. In this second of the series to be published here (Fantomas appeared in 1986) Fantomas strikes again with grisly cruelty. His first victim is a mysterious woman of fashion and now he plots to obliterate Inspector Juve, whose only hope is to learn the identity of the ""silent executioner'' by whom the foulest deeds are committed. The two stalk each other to the violent end of this campy, broadly melodramatic escapade, when the howling, snaky madman throws the switch that explodes Lady Beltham's villa while he makes good his narrow escape. But, hold on there, does the charred, shattered body of immortal Juve lie buried in the ruins? See the next installment. (July 21)