Jeannette de Beauvoir
Minotaur, 2016 (2016)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
as the second in Jeannette de Beauvoir's mystery series set in Montreal, Canada and starring Martine LeDuc, the happily married Francophone PR director for the mayor's office. Once again, she works with with Anglophone Détective-lieutenant Julian Fletcher in the police department, though neither does so officially.
t all starts this time for Martine when the mayor announces a '
magnificent PR coup
'. Ph.D. student Patricia Mason has been researching the British crown jewels during World War II, and believes that, not only were they (and a fortune in gold) sent for safekeeping to Montreal, but that some of the jewels were stolen and smuggled out through the city sewers.
s she sets the scene for the modern mystery, the author takes readers back in time to show England's king and young princesses dismantling and packing up the jewels, and their journey across the Atlantic. She also introduces a German spy in Montreal during that time. Hans has been charged by his superiors with locating the treasure. But Hans falls in love, changing everything.
t the heart of the mystery is an underground network of sewer systems connected to a Montreal museum. Patricia leads Martine through them to show her discovery, and they find a body with a hole in the back of its skull, a very cold case indeed. Unfortunately, it's soon joined by a modern murder, and the game is on for Martine and Julian.
omplicating Martine's life are developments on the home front - her stepchildren are visiting and there is talk of an even bigger change, one that Martine is very unsure about. All these plot threads clump together - along with the meddling of modern fascists, members of the
New Order of the Black Sun
, who have their own sinister reasons for acquiring the legendary jewels.
s before, Martine gets rather too close to the killer before it all ends, but said ending is a surprising one.
is an intriguing and engaging read, and don't miss the
at the back of the book, that explains what is, and is not, known about
during World War II.
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