Three children are massacred in their beds. The crushed corpse of their mother is discovered in a dockside warehouse. Hanno Stiffeniis, a Prussian magistrate, goes to investigate, but everything begins to unwind. Serge Lavedrine, a criminologist attached to the invading French army, steps in to resolve the mystery, and Stiffeniis is packed off to ...
Three children are massacred in their beds. The crushed corpse of their mother is discovered in a dockside warehouse. Hanno Stiffeniis, a Prussian magistrate, goes to investigate, but everything begins to unwind. Serge Lavedrine, a criminologist attached to the invading French army, steps in to resolve the mystery, and Stiffeniis is packed off to collect the husband from a remote fortress on the Russian border. But the husband, Bruno Gottewald, is dead and buried - killed while out on field manoeuvres. In less than a week the entire Gottewald family has been wiped off the face of the earth. A tragic coincidence? A military conspiracy involving Prussian troops? Or are the French using the massacre to expand their power?
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Publishers Weekly, 2008-02-18 A few years after the traumatic events in Critique of Criminal Reason (2006), Napoleon Bonaparte's troops still occupy Prussia in Gregorio's outstanding second historical. The residents of Lotingen who haven't fled their homes, including magistrate Hanno Stiffeniis and his family, live in a constant state of fear. A chance encounter at a formal dinner with Colonel Lavedrine-a French officer interested in criminology-leads Stiffeniis, who learned a novel approach to criminal investigation from legendary philosopher Immanuel Kant in Critique, to look into the gruesome murder of the three small children of Prussian Maj. Bruno Gottewald and the disappearance of his wife. When Stiffeniis travels to the military garrison where Gottewald is posted to inform him of his loss, the sleuth finds that the major has also been killed. Gregorio again demonstrates a rare gift for constructing a compelling whodunit rich with the kinds of psychological insights typical of the work of such contemporary crime masters as Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters. Readers will race through the pages to reach the solution. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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