cover image A Lady in Shadows: A Madeleine Karno Mystery

A Lady in Shadows: A Madeleine Karno Mystery

Lene Kaaberbøl, trans. from the Danish by Elisabeth Dyssegaard. Atria, $16 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-4767-3142-1

Kaaberbøl’s exhilarating sequel to 2015’s Doctor Death finds budding forensic pathologist Madeleine Karno shaken by the discovery of a woman’s mutilated body in a coal yard, the corpse’s abdomen sliced open. As the streets of Varbourg, France, erupt in violence following the assassination of President Marie François Sadi Carnot by an Italian anarchist in 1894, Karno, who’s also just been accepted as a physiology student at the local university, and with the Commissaire des Morts attempt to first identify the victim, then solve the woman’s brutal murder. Newspapers jump on the similarities to the murders of London’s Jack the Ripper, and fear ripples through the community at the thought that France might have its own Ripper. Karno eventually identifies the victim as Rosalba Lombardi, one of the city’s numerous prostitutes. As her clandestine investigation continues, Karno discovers disturbing facts about the murder that bring up female rights issues as relevant then as they are today. Kaaberbøl has created a genuinely tough, empathetic female heroine in an era when women were meant to be seen and not heard. Agent: Lars Ringhof, Lars Ringhof Agency (Denmark). (Dec.)