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Foster, Tony.

Toronto, Methuen, 1987. 296pp, cloth, $24.95, ISBN 0-458-99860-5. CIP

Reviewed by Nancy E. Black

Volume 16 Number 2
1988 March

Rue du Bac, a murder mystery, features an elaborate plot of international intrigue set in Paris against the bureaucratic workings of the French police system. The protagonist, French-Canadian Roger Marais, has the unfortunate luck to be in the wrong place al the wrong time and is accused of the initial murder, which occurred on the Rue du Bac. A series of related murders follows and it becomes clear that the police are convinced of his involvement in each murder. Determined to escape the set-up, he is joined by a young woman, and together they flee for their lives and slowly piece together the confusing puzzle of events. The centre of the puzzle is a sex scandal perpetrated by three German officials in World Wars I and II in a small French village occupied by Germany during both wars.

This is a fast-paced, absorbing story. The author, obviously well versed in intrigue, gives a fascinating, realistic flavour to the dramatic events and encounters. As background for the plot, the French-German connection is convincing and heightens the suspense. The Russian connection is interesting but weaker and, at times, unnecessarily complicates the plot. Main characters (Boule, Marais) are well drawn and developed. However, most other characters, in particular the women, are quite flat and two dimensional. In fact, descriptions of the women are usually nothing more than a physical/sexual appreciation as expressed by a male character. Rue du Bac is sure to be popular in libraries where similar crime stories are in demand.

Nancy E. Black, Saskatoon Public Library, Saskatoon, Sask.
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