|from The Independent|
Perhaps it's time for a Morse reading retrospective.
Requiescat in pace
|from The Independent|
"The tribunal completely assumed the character of an inquisition, the slightest suspicion was sufficient to lead to brutal incarceration, and it was often left to chance to demonstrate the innocence of the person accused of a capital crime."Just FYI, I'm not offering a history lesson here -- all of this is relevant to the case in which la Mademoiselle finds herself embroiled. It seems that while the poisonings have become "less and less frequent," another series of crimes finds its way onto the streets of Paris. This time it is the theft of jewelry, assumed to be the work of a "gang of thieves" who were out to "get its hands on all the jewels in town". Their victims are all men who have purchased "rich jewellery" -- not only are they robbed, but they are either knocked out or murdered. All of the dead men showed the same sort of wound: "a dagger-thrust to the heart which ... killed so swiftly and surely that the wounded victim simply fell to the ground, unable to utter a sound." Despite strengthened police presence, the thefts and murders continued, and it wasn't long until people began to believe that perhaps
"it really was the devil himself protecting the heinous villains who had souls their souls to them."This story takes place in 1680. Around midnight a "cloaked figure" makes his way to the home of the celebrated Mademoiselle de Scudéri on the rue St. Honoré, demanding to see her. She is asleep, but in talking to the maid, he leaves behind a small casket that he demands be given to her. The next day, upon inspection, it is found to contain "a pair of golden bracelets richly adorned with jewels" and matching necklace, along with a note signed by "The Invisibles" who thank her for her "wit" which has saved them "from great persecution." The jewelry is a gift, a token of their "gratitude," and she is appalled that this notorious gang of thieves and murderers would even consider that she was their friend in some way. Taking the jewelry to her friend (and the mistress of the king) Madame de Maintenon, she discovers that the pieces were all the creations of René Cardillac, "the most skillful practitioner of his art, not only in Paris, but perhaps of his whole age," who when questioned, reveals that the jewelry had "inexplicably disappeared" from his workshop. Later, when Cardillac turns up dead, Mademoiselle de Scudéri suddenly and somewhat reluctantly finds herself deeply involved in the case, finding herself in direct opposition to the notorious chambre ardente.
"she was far more concerned with the psychological ramifications of relationships, especially the toxicity that builds up and destroys marriages."Kathleen Sharp, writing for the Los Angeles Review of Books, notes another quality that keeps me glued to Millar's novels when she says that the author
"explored female characters as they battled the daily accretions of frustrated ambition and blocked power, often while trying to keep a grip on their own sanity."While I won't go into detail as to how The Iron Gates embodies the psychology that both of these writers have described, and more, it was a book I couldn't put down. As a sidebar note, I do have to mention here that Sharp's description of The Iron Gates in that article as a "gothic novel about abortion" is incorrect, but the article itself is still worth reading.
|from Women Crime Writers of the 1940s & 50s|
"She felt safe again. Behind her there was an iron gate and a hundred doors that locked with big key."Sands wants to know what drove Lucille to take refuge in an asylum, and beyond that, why so many deaths have occurred since her disappearance. It's not just Sands, either -- it's at this point that the reader also begins to wonder what's up with Lucille as we are made privy to the stream-of-consciousness musings reflecting her inner turmoil, and quite a different woman emerges miles apart from the cool, composed lady of the Morrow house from Part One. The inspector's investigation leads him to, in Part Three "The Hounds," a shocker of a revelation that frankly, I didn't see coming, although I had great fun playing armchair detective in this one.
"If he lived the way he did, it was because that was how he wanted to live. He had no desire to change anything."He has lunch every Thursday at La Cloche, and even there things are always routine -- he has a regular table, he always orders the same lunch -- "onion soup, pot-au-feu, crème brulée". Only once has he changed his order, thinking it might perhaps get the attention of the waitress Adèle; he even goes so far as to order a second glass of wine, both out of character. At one point, he even goes so far once to remark on her appearance. His fantasies about Adèle provide a break in his otherwise unremarkable existence, as do his regular visits to a brothel where even the sex is routine.
|(all maps courtesy of Lonely Planet)|
Double Diamond Publishing, 2017
paperback -- my copy from the author. Thanks so much!!!
"make an appeal, inside and outside the force, and to give a boost to the officers still investigating the case, to reinforce our intention never to let violent crime go unpunished."The real purpose, Mikami's boss tells him, behind the commissioner's appeal is to "reach an internal audience" rather than "the general public." Immediately Mikami realizes that this is all about "politics" more than anything else.