Jean-Francois Parot

The Man with the Lead Stomach

""Nicholas Le Floch is a well written and colourful detective..." "


Police Commissioner Nocholas Le Floch is instructed to protect Princess Adelaide, the King's daughter, during a visit to the theatre. What starts as a uneventful evening culminates in the discovery of the body of a prominent courtier's son.

Initial suspicions that the Vicomte de Ruissec committed suicide are belied by the hideous disfiguration of his face. The result, it transpires, of molten lead being poured into his gut. The subsequent violent death of the Vicomte's mother confirms Le Floch's murder diagnosis and he is dragged into the coterie of Madame Le Pompadour who wants the murders solved and also to protect her position as King's mistress.

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Good quality sequels to successful debut novels are often difficult to produce but Jean-Francois Parot delivers an excellent mystery in this novel. Nicholas Le Floch is a well written and colourful detective and I liked the fact that this book moves away from his complicated love life and focuses on his investigative talents. The murder mystery I found less satisfying. It has all of the elements of a good yarn, particularly in relation to the method of dispatching the victims but I found it difficult to engage with the plot. Much better are the depictions of court intrigue which I found very convincing. Parot is an excellent chronicler of history at that time and this novel is highly recommended to those who enjoy historical crime fiction.

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