Winter. 1942-3. The war is turning against Germany on the Eastern Front.
The Americans land in North Africa. Meanwhile, in Bordeaux, Superintendent Lannes - himself an object of suspicion, with one son in Vichy and another with de Gaulle's Free French - investigates the murder of a woman.
It looks like a crime of passion. His subordinate, Inspector Moncerre, calls it 'a pre-war crime', one which they may be allowed to solve.
But the dead woman has been engaged in activities which have attracted the attention of the Vichy Secret Service, the Germans, and even the Resistance. The investigation will lead Lannes into dangerous territory.
He has family problems, too, with his wife sinking into depression and his daughter in love with a boy of whose politics and ambitions he disapproves.
His own disaffection is sharpened by Vichy's complicity in the deportation of the city's Jews.
Things, he fears, will get worse before they get better, as divisions between Vichy and the Resistance threaten civil war. And, by popular demand, a fourth title will follow - set in 1944, the year of the Liberation as well as the 'Epuration' of those who collaborated with the Nazis...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 239 pages
- Publisher: Quartet Books
- Publication Date: 28/02/2014
- Category: Crime & mystery
- ISBN: 9780704373280
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Review by jtck121166
I enjoyed this slightly less than the two earlier parts of the trilogy (Death in ... / Dark Summer in ... ). Again, the murder (of an unpleasant piano teacher) is merely the maguffin that gets the ball rolling. The main business, of course, in the moral greyness that characterises life in occupied France. In order, though, to capture the obliqueness and necessarily allusive nature of nearly all conversation of any interest in Vichy France, Massie has been forced to require much of his reader - and, I must admit, I sometimes failed him.