Another wonderful installment in the Aristide Ravel canon!
(Actually, if you are about to begin the series, start with this book, which introduces Ravel and his relationship with the police that figures prominently in the rest of the series.)
CAVALIER offers an intriguing mystery with a satisfying ending, all set against the historic backdrop of unsettled times in pre-revolution France. I was so engrossed that it was quite an unhappy day when I finished this volume.
In this book, which spans several weeks in the life of our brooding, cursed, but talented hero, we meet Ravel and learn about his past and why he is currently a penniless (er, centime-less) scribbler living in the odorous abattoir district of Paris. We also meet his soon-to-be colleague, Inspector Brasseur, and learn what makes him tick as well (which would have been nice to know as I read the other two books I’ve finished so far in the series, thanks to what the author says was her publisher’s insistence that they be published in the wrong order … go figure).
Soon we find the unlikely pair investigating — and Ravel getting tangled in — a series of strange occurrences that seem to be tied to the Masonic order. A murder, plus the disappearance of both the cadaver and a connected gentlemen, make for a mystery more mysterious and harder to unravel than most. An especially juicy addition is a visit with an actual historical figure who advanced medical science in a strange and macabre fashion. There’s even a subplot more personal to Ravel that shows the haunting nature of the predicament in which his family history has left him. Overall, highly satisfying.
One more Ravel book to go — I almost do not want to start it because I don’t want it to end too soon — and then dear Ms. Alleyn will need to write some more!