Coup de Pierre
Paris, September 1852.
Four years after the revolution that brought down the last king of France, Paris is coming to terms with the regime installed by Louis-Napoleon, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. Lucien de Boizillac, a young captain in the Paris police, is deployed to track down the last few dissidents still resisting the rebirth of imperial rule.
Now that the recent disorder has been suppressed, English visitors are returning to the city. Among them are Franklin Blake and his young wife, Rachel (nee Verinder), married three years before after disentangling the mysterious theft of a priceless diamond (described in "The Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins).
But Blake is snared by a loose end left from his youthful excesses in the French capital, before his marriage. Lured into a meeting with a former lover, he is discovered in a back-street tavern, slumped over her lifeless body. Blake is thrown into prison, to stand trial for murder.
Boizillac is drawn into unravelling the murder, despite the hostility of Alfred Graize, the police inspector who leads the investigation. As he digs deeper, he exposes a network manipulated by the new regime which seems set on achieving Blake's condemnation.
Can Boizillac overcome these hostile forces to get at the truth? Or will Franklin Blake be found guilty of a crime which, contrary to all the evidence, he denies committing?
Published: 28 June 2016
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