The Whispering of Bones
A Charles du Luc Mystery by Judith Rock
Review: Charles du Luc is a former soldier, having fought a decade ago in the Battle of Cassel during the reign of Louis XIV. He left the military and although quite a bit older than most, eight years ago he walked through the door of Avignon Novice House to become a Jesuit scholar. While there, much to the disapproval of his superiors, he helped solve a series of mysteries with Lieutenant-General La Renie of the Paris Police. Still in training for the priesthood, Charles and his much admired aged confessor, Pere Auguste Dainville, leave their Jesuit commune to make a visit to a crypt in a Carmelite church in Paris. When they descend the stairs to the crypt, they find the body of a young man in the well chamber. The shock of this discovery causes Pere Dainville to seize up and die a short time later, in The Whispering of Bones, the fourth mystery in this series set in late 17th century Paris by Judith Rock.
The murdered man is identified to be a seventeen-year-old, who had planned to enter the Jesuit novitiate. While returning to his order, Charles is struck down and injured, stabbed in the back. And then a member of the order disappears. Charles is determined to not only find the person, who murdered the young man and by extension caused his mentor’s death, but to somehow protect others in his religious community. This need is met with firm opposition from his superiors, who remember the annoyance and aggravation caused by his previous actions in helping La Renie investigate murders. Adding to Charles’s dilemma is the arrival of his aggrieved cousin, who fought with him in the Battle of Cassel, and who now is infringing on his studies by telling him of another veteran of the battle, Amaury de Corbet, who is planning on entering Charles’s order rather than remain in the military as expected, even demanded by his father. Other issues facing Charles is the revelation of a book of illegal, smuggled goods, a political conspiracy, two more students disappearing, and a woman, who may or may not have a connection with Amaury. Charles knows he may well sacrifice his career as a Jesuit Priest if he continues his investigations against the orders of his superiors, but he feels he has no choice by the try.
The Whispering of Bones is a fine example of a historical mystery that features an intricately devised storyline. The conflict that Charles feels between his devotion and what he considers his duty is apparent to the reader, and the choices he makes are indeed difficult ones. The time and place are richly drawn and fully realized, a perfect backdrop to this well-paced and nicely plotted mystery.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Whispering of Bones.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of The Whispering of Bones for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Whispering of Bones: Paris, France
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The Whispering of Bones by Judith Rock — A Charles du Luc Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: November 2013
List Price: $15.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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