The Second Paul Gastebois Mystery


Versailles, 1789:Over a thousand noble, clerical, and commoner deputies from all over France have descended on the seat of Louis XVI’s court for the Estates General, called by the king to solve the nation’s financial crisis. After weeks of discord, the commoner deputies have disregarded the instructions of their monarch and declared themselves to be a new National Assembly. The king, in mourning for his dead heir, appears to have accepted the National Assembly for the moment.

Paul Gastebois is summoned to Versailles by his old friend Hyacinthe de Breul, a deputy to the Estates General who is also enjoying a reunion with old friends from the elite school in Paris, Louis-le-Grand. On a dark night outside the king’s château, a hidden man with a stutter threatened to kill Hyacinthe. As Paul searches the town for the young groom who might have menaced Hyacinthe, hundreds of foreign mercenaries arrive, alarming the deputies to the Assembly, who fear the king has decided to dissolve the body by force.

Soon threats lead to murder, and while courtiers frolic in the king’s pleasure gardens and deputies fear for their future, Paul must follow a clever, determined murderer through the dark corners of Versailles and deep into the fetid chambers of the Bastille, the sinister fortress that looms over Paris.