Every detective has their method of investigation. Some can tell just from looking at the murder scene what caused the death of the victim and is able to gather important clues taking photos, forensic evidence and DNA ,and observations. Monk can view the sites and methodically solve the case. Prendergast has his own way of assessing a scene and his memory, his perceptions and unique demeanor are in somewhat like the main character in this book. An inspector asked to take over a murder case because the original detective had to recuse himself. The case is odd from the start and what it appears to be is someone crucified to a cross upside down. The detective assesses the scene decides what is needed and yet others preform the tasks. Then questions are asked the ME is not available and the author relates historical facts. When the facts about the hospital became known and when learn more about it what is revealed from the past will come head on in the present as the inspector meets with Albert to learn more about why he has decided to recuse himself and we learn about his past. When he heard about the murders, the crucifixion and that it might involve the archbishop in tangential way, he decides to as to e let of the case it is at this point the author shares along with Albert the hidden truths, and much more. What is his father’s role in what happened and just what has been hidden about the archbishop? He then shares about the art collection and how his father knew Goering was obsessed with the old masters and much more defending his father’s action considering his passion against communism and his attempt to preserve his father’s way of life.
The author helps guide us to understand why one does not dine in Paris for food and there is in no intrinsic Parisian cuisine, and he expands on this on pages 3-4. Then he flashes back to his friend Freddy and throughout the novel he adds what he would surmise as what is happening and how he should handle it startling with Murder is a grave business continuing with that homicide, by nature, reveals a most basic and unambiguous form of human motivation. The motivation for premedicated is a complex mosaic he sates but at its foundation lie several distributing evolutionally questions relating to Cain and Abel and why do so many of us dream of nothing else?
The research is replete, and Herodotus tell us about the history behind the crucifixion and public execution. He continues to talk about his personal life and his relationship to someone named Sandy who was married to someone else and the reasons why that never happened. Learning next about what happened after the German invasion of France, the death of Sandy and then back to Oscar whom he shares little in common but met in the German prison camp.
The plot gets more intense when we learn more about the archbishop a hospital for children that are disabled from the past. Officer Weygand gave him an assessment of the different nails that were used to impale the two victims and then he discussed the photos and more. The author goes back to the history of the Hundred Years’ War and then more about his friend Freddy. Added in his relationship with the chef grew more intense in some respects and in others just a pure friendship. Meeting with the Archbishop, and they discussed the incident and Jocko the victim that worked at this hospital for years. Many of the children that lived there received jobs there too. The archbishop also had an impressive array of paintings and art. Some reproductions while others real featuring – Velazquez and Caravaggio.
Inspector Charles Maillot is complex, and he investigate the crimes in an unusual way. After the first man is found crucified at the summer home of the archbishop of Toulouse and then he must unravel Nazi collaboration, clerical abuse and an outlaw medieval Christian set that the author talks about in detail, the Cathars, added in his encounter firth Francoise the heal. The author shares delicious French Cuisine that are mouthwatering and his need to heal from his past in the prison camps.
Frustration about not being able to solve the case, no fingerprints on the cross and you hear the voice of the inspector in first person . Albert who is spending time with his new grandson and has decided to recuse himself completely from the cases the author needs to have the inspector learn more. Creating the initial reports stating that the archbishop was not a suspect and then his relationship with Francoise, he meets with the chief coroner. The autopsy report contradicts the theory of the case and the second victim Jacque Bisset died of natural causes not the crucifixion. It came hours later but why and what was the motive ? Added in Francoise calls and is now in need of his presence she is afraid because the victim was found drowned in the fountain opposite her father’s home and now he is on the way to her. The author then talks about the slaughter of the first and second world worse after the holocaust and other incidents.
We learn about his uncle Carlos and what he was to him and how he would have casted a line when fishing and what he learned from him in the past. The interesting part is the history of the children’s house founded by Lady Ester Worthington and who inherited the estate from her grandfather. Was she really that wealthy person? What is her past? What about the archbishop and his true background? My favorite character is Sergeant Guyton as Albert was not available and he served as his assistance and his methodical way of gathering the files, on the murdered priest, the report, the nails and then more was quite interesting as the inspector was dealing with Francoise’s and her father’s illness. The autopsy report of the retired priest whose mutilated body was deposited into the main foundation of the main central square came back as natural causes the rest came later.
Something about the hospital and Lady Worthington did not ring true but what? The inspector now focuses on his relationship with Francoise and then we learn more about the Cathars and the part they might have played in the past and in the present.
When all the history becomes known, more about his friend Freddy and what he did for the hospital falls into place the truth behind who is behind the crucifixion becomes known as sometimes the person is hiding in plain sight. The sergeant seems so be the one who really does sole the puzzles by making the phone calls, the connections to stolen Jewish are and the search warrant that might explain it all plus forensic samples. Just who was the mastermind and why. Who wanted to make sure that the archbishop paid for his sins? What is the outcome, and will the person be caught? The ending answers the questions but what about his relationship with Francoise and where does he see himself next and in what position? A character who is austere, at times has a dry and sober personality and whose method of handling a case involves delegating much of the work to others until the final reveal when he figures out who is responsible. What is next and why the upside-down crucifix? One thing is for sure: Inspector Charles Maillot is certainly when it comes to food and more A MAN OF INPECTABLE TASTE!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews