At the beginning of th 20th Century Paris is a party and the lights of the Belle Époque illuminate the streets of Montmartre and Pigalle, areas where moral strictures are relaxed and absinthe and opium circulate freely. But it is in a distinguished boulevard, set away from the dives and alleyways of Montmartre where Monsieur Bonancieux’s body is found with its throat slit. There are no clues, nor any apparent motive, even though the gentleman has a secret passion: he had a hidden alchemical laboratory in his home and dedicated his life to the search for the philosopher’s stone.
Amid this web of false appearances, dark formulas and unexpressed desires for other people’s things, two things are certain: the first is that even after he’s dead a man can still surprise you greatly, and two: that you never really know who your neighbours are.
A wonderful crime novel with a classic feel, along the lines of a murder in an isolated house with several suspects, each of whom have hidden secrets, leading to false leads that fool both the protagonists and the reader.
Secret societies, political intrigue, forbidden love and legendary alchemical mysteries all set with a delightful sense of humour in the elegant neighbourhoods of Paris at the beginning of the 20th Century.