My third book read by this author was originally published under the pen name of Carter Dickson. It features his second recurring detective, Prefect of the Police Henri Bencolin and takes place in Paris. Bencolin is almost the opposite of Dr. Fell. He is official rather than consulting, tall and flamboyant rather than overweight and untidy. Where Dr. Fell is affable and seems like the sort of person you could have a beer with, Bencolin is arrogant and rather unpleasant to be around. This book, like the previous two, was told in first person by a narrator. The style of this book was also a bit different. The clues were all laid out for you, although not always pointed out. This book seem to actually be more fair about the clues than the previous two. In this case, a madman who attempted to kill his wife has escaped custody. The now divorced wife is about to remarry into a wealthy, noble family. A plastic surgeon is found murdered and a threat on the former wife is received. The police go on alert. The evening of the wedding, a reception is held in a club. The groom is seen, by Bencolin and the narrator, go into a room with a police guard on each door . A few minutes later a waiter, summoned to the room with drinks, drops the tray of glasses at the site of the groom, beheaded, a bloody sword beside his corpse. The only unguarded entrance to the room is a window, which opens onto a 40 foot drop with smooth walls and the grit and dust on the ledge are undisturbed.
I did not, at first, like this book as much as the previous two. The tone was more formal and the detective a bit of a dick. I did not notice the interruption of someone relaying important information in this book, however, it was replaced by the repeated insertion of phrases in French. I do think the author was more forward with the clues to the identity of the murder, but not with how the murder was done. I was let down by the explanation of the method. It was too simplistic and I think the author hid some stuff there to keep the reader from picking up on it.