A Fine Tapestry of Murder
A compelling historical murder mystery set amongst the artists in seventeenth-century Paris. For fans of C.J. Sansom and S.J. Parris. 'A rich and achingly beautiful novel' - Carol McGrath (author of the Daughters of Hastings trilogy) on An Artist in Her Own Right. Paris, 1676. When a body washes up on the banks of the Bièvre river, a young woman finds herself embroiled in an intricate murder case. At first it seems mere coincidence that the dead man was discovered outside the Royal Manufactory of the Gobelins, home to a community of artists and craftsmen. He was not one of them, after all. But Anne-Marie, a sculptor's wife, soon realises that the victim may well be known within the walls of the Gobelins - and that the killer might be amongst them. With the police apparently disinterested, it is a mystery that is hers alone to solve. Anne-Marie's investigations will take her from the unsavoury slums of the Ile Notre-Dame to the grand ducal residences of the Place Royale. But who can she truly trust on the streets of Paris? Readers LOVED An Artist in Her Own Right : 'A wonderful blend of fact and fiction that I literally read in two sittings ' ' Alive with action and colour' 'The ebb and flow of relationships, between family members and artists, are beautifully conceived and nuanced ' 'Wonderful imaginative detail'
Release date: August 6, 2020
Publisher: Accent Press
Print pages: 305
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A Fine Tapestry of Murder
Ann Marti Friedman
A few bolder men slipped out to the public street where the brandy sellers waited. They tried to do so unobtrusively, as Monsieur Le Brun, the director, disapproved of this habit. Anyone who showed up for work drunk was given a warning. Still, they grumbled to each other, it was so bloody cold that a body needed something stronger than coffee to warm up. The Bièvre, which usually stank with the waste of the tanners, smelters and slaughterhouses upriver, was not so noxious as usual. They wondered if it had frozen over last night.
As the men gathered, one could hear conversations in several languages. Louis XIV’s generous patronage attracted the best craftsmen of Europe to the Gobelins. It served as workshop and home to Flemish tapestry weavers, the French dyers who supplied the yarn, English silversmiths, Italian sculptors and craftsmen in marble, and French makers of marquetry furniture of all kinds. Collectively, these talented men produced the tapestries, monumental silver vessels, and elaborately decorated tables and cabinets for the King to use in his palaces or to give away to show off the wealth of France.
Niccolò Bruno, a sculptor in wood, had come to Paris from Rome six months before. Twenty-three years old, tall and robust, with richly curling brown hair, he had an easy smile. He chatted with the Romans and Florentines who worked in pietra dura, marble slabs inlaid with colored stones in enchanting scenes and patterns. When, he asked them, did they anticipate finishing the pair of tabletops for which he would be carving the elaborate supports? He gave a huge yawn, to the amusement of the others who teased him about being a newlywed not wanting to leave his soft bed and generously curved Anne-Marie. He blushed and concentrated on drinking his coffee.
When the courtyard clock struck seven, the coffee vendors departed and the brandy drinkers slipped back inside. The apprentices in the silver workshops were already at work, their furnace chimneys sending plumes of black smoke into the lightening sky.
Niccolò called farewells to his friends and flexed and blew on his fingers to warm them. He huddled into his coat, hands in his pockets, and walked rapidly to the sculpture studio in the adjoining courtyard. Once inside, he gave a cheerful greeting to the pair of roughed-out sculptures on the platform and lovingly examined his tools for any needed sharpening or repairs. Carefully, he laid and lit a fire in the stove in the corner of the studio. A large fire was a hazard, but he worked without gloves and a small blaze would enable him to warm his hands from time to time.
His preparations completed, he turned a critical eye on the sculptures of Hercules and an Amazon, one of the warrior women of mythology. Three feet tall, they would serve as supports for a cabinet being made at one of the furniture workshops. The cabinet, with its marquetry picture of the Gallic rooster striding triumphant over the Dutch lion, celebrated France’s early success in its current war with the Netherlands. The two sculptures underlined this message of strength and victory, shouldering the weight of the cabinet as they strode forward with confidence. There was some optimism in this because the war, undertaken so cheerfully with initial success four years before, had been at a stalemate now for three. More than one Dutch or Flemish artisan at the Gobelins had lamented to Niccolò the difficulties of getting news of their families or sending money for their support.
Niccolò was proud of the figures. Lovingly he picked up his tools and set to work, breathing deeply the freshly cut wood. Gradually the curly mane of Hercules’ lion skin cloak began to emerge under the chisel, then the lion’s fearsome eyes and mouth. Under it, the hero’s noble brow took shape, his own bushy eyebrows echoing the lion’s locks. His fierce eyes directed a look of raw power that seemed destined for greater things than holding the upper half of a cabinet. Niccolò had just begun to work on the nose when a knock on the door startled him and broke his concentration. His chisel slipped and left a gouge in the cheek. It could be repaired and wouldn’t be noticeable at all once the figure was covered with gesso and painted, but it annoyed him to do less than perfect work. He put down the chisel and strode to the door.
‘What?’ he demanded of the boy, one of the weavers’ apprentices, who stood outside. The apprentice jumped and gave a nervous glance at the mallet still in Niccolò’s left hand. He opened and closed his mouth but no sound came out.
Despite himself, Niccolò laughed. ‘Scusi – pardonnez-moi, mon brave.’ He put down the mallet and smiled at the boy. ‘What were you in such a hurry to tell me?’
The boy found his voice. ‘There’s a man’s body in the Bièvre,’ he said, striving to give the news the solemnity he felt appropriate but not quite able to damp down his excitement and importance at being the first with the news. ‘They want to know if any of us recognize who it is.’
When Niccolò arrived at the Bièvre, a crowd had already formed on its narrow banks, trampling the muddy brown grass. Workers from the barn on the other bank, glad of an excuse to pause in mucking out, shifted from foot to foot and blew on their hands in between snatches of conversation. They would be happy enough to return to work, he thought. Already he regretted leaving his studio. The Gobelins adults were solemn, but the children, who had raced out of their classroom as soon as they heard the news, ran excitedly up and down. Père Ferré, the priest who taught them their letters, tried in vain to gather them together.
Niccolò caught sight of his wife’s brown cloak and yellow knitted coif and went to stand by Anne-Marie, drawing her close to him. She smiled as she raised her face for a kiss. A few blond curls had escaped the coif, tempting his fingers. He loved the feeling of them when she let her hair down at night. Her shivering gradually ceased. Her expression, which had relaxed when she smiled up at her husband, grew serious when she looked again at the men pulling the corpse to shore. A sudden gust of wind added the pungent odor of the barn’s manure pile to the stink of the Bièvre, but at least that was a smell redolent of life.
Old Jean was a familiar figure to the onlookers. A veteran of the Thirty Years’ War, he looked after the barn at night and watched the Bièvre during the day to retrieve whatever he might use or sell. One suspected his odd assortment of mismatched clothing had come from that source. He wore patched pantaloons too big for him, a far from white shirt, and a coat missing all but one of its buttons, fastened with a piece of rope with frayed ends. There were prominent stains around the pockets, where he had put all his smaller finds. He often said that years in the army, on the march and in the melee of battle, had taught him to keep his possessions on him at all times. His hardships had not soured his disposition, however; a genial soul, he knew many of the Gobelins residents by name. They in turn, conscious of the fine wools and silver stored on the premises, appreciated the added measure of security his presence provided, and they often brought him gifts of food. His weather-beaten face was animated and his long white hair flew in wisps about his head as he described his find to an attentive audience.
‘I thought it was a coat, see? That’s worth something, when it’s washed and dried and I can wear it or sell it. So I pulled it over with my pole.’ He brandished a long-handled implement with a metal hook on one end as if he were Moses parting the Red Sea. A few at the front of the crowd eyed it nervously and stepped back out of its reach. ‘But when I towed it to the bank I realized there was a man still in it. It’s fair game, what you take from the river, but I’m not so desperate as to rob the dead!’ There was a note of pride in his voice as he stated his code of honor. ‘When I hauled him out, his hair was dyed all green and I thought, maybe it’s one of the yarn dyers at the tapestry works. So I asked you to come look.’
The master dyer came forward. A solidly built man with an air of authority, he wore the ordinary brown coat of most workmen and a scarf of deep red – his signature color – around his neck. He helped Old Jean to turn the body over but backed away from it with a cry of distress echoed by the crowd. Lying face down for so long, the dead man’s features were swollen and distorted from the water and from his blood settling into them, coloring them a dark red. The blue-grey eyes were open and staring. The arms, stiff in the rigor of death, were raised in front of his chest as if to ward off whatever had confronted and killed him.
The master dyer visibly steeled himself to look again more closely. ‘He’s not one of ours,’ he finally announced. The crowd exhaled a collective sigh of relief, but he continued, ‘It’s hard to tell who he might be in this condition.’
Niccolò felt Anne-Marie shiver as she caught her breath in a sob.
‘What’s wrong?’ he asked. ‘Do you know him?’
‘No. I was thinking of the night you were attacked and left for dead in the street. Oh, Niccolò, it could so easily have been you!’
He shuddered, feeling again the ruffians’ boots and fists. A good thing it had happened at some distance from the Seine. He looked at the unknown dead man now with a sense of fellow feeling: no longer merely a random body in the river, but a glimpse of what he could have become. It gave him an eerie sense of two alternative selves, one living and one dead. Noticing that Charles Le Brun, the director of the Gobelins, had joined the group, Niccolò appealed to him. ‘We can’t just leave him here. Couldn’t we bring him inside?’
Le Brun threw him a sharp, inquiring glance but gave calm orders. ‘Yes. Dr Lunague can examine him.’ Looking around, ‘Is he here?’
‘He is attending Mother Abbess,’ said one of the weavers, gesturing toward the lands and buildings of the Convent of the Cordelière Nuns on the other side of the Bièvre.
Le Brun nodded. Though employed by the Gobelins to see to the injuries of the workmen, Dr Lunague served as a physician to the residents of the neighborhood when called upon and waived his fee for the poorest patients. ‘I will have Père Ferré say mass for the man, God rest his soul.’
‘God rest his soul,’ murmured the crowd, making the sign of the Cross.
Two porters brought a stretcher and Niccolò stepped forward to help them place the man on it. The subdued but relieved crowd made way and followed them into the Gobelins courtyard. Madame Martine, the doctor’s formidable grey-haired housekeeper, grumbled at the intrusion of muddy feet onto the immaculate floor of the examining room. She had the men with the stretcher wait while she took a clean sheet from the linen press and put it on the examining table. They placed the dead man on it. ‘It can serve now for examining him and burying him later,’ she told them.
‘You’ll need to clean him up,’ someone was bold enough to tell her.
‘Not me,’ snapped Madame Martine. ‘I take care of the doctor. Dealing with corpses has never been part of my duties. Someone else will need to do it.’
At that, the crowd shook off its solemnity and remembered other things to do – the men their studios, the children their lessons, the women their housework. ‘Don’t know him, not my husband, don’t need to,’ they muttered to each other.
‘I’ll do it,’ Anne-Marie volunteered, not at all sure she wanted to but not liking to identify with these squeamish women who backed away from the dead man with a flick of skirts.
Niccolò looked at her with concern. ‘Will you be all right?’
She gestured with a sweep of her hand at the now empty courtyard. ‘No one else is volunteering.’
His voice was gentle. ‘You don’t need to. That’s not me there. Don’t take it so to heart.’
She shook her head. ‘It’s not just him. I can’t help thinking, what if he had someone waiting for him to come home last night – as I did that night – wondering this morning what has happened to him? She would want him treated with respect.’ Her eyes held his, and he nodded.
‘You’ll need clean water. I’ll draw it for you.’ He picked up the doctor’s water bucket and went out to the well.
Anne-Marie went to their rooms in the attic of one of the Gobelins buildings to exchange her cloak for a warm knitted jacket. She clicked her tongue at the sight of the breakfast dishes not yet washed, the bed unmade, but these things could wait. Taking up a clean apron, basin and rags, she returned to the doctor’s examining room.
Madame Martine, hearing the door open and close, brought down water Niccolò had drawn which she had warmed in the fireplace of the upstairs room. ‘He won’t know the difference, but your hands will,’ she said with gruff kindness. Lest Anne-Marie think she was going soft, however, she refused to light a fire in the corner stove, although it was almost as cold indoors as out. ‘It’s a blessing in disguise, being this cold. I don’t want to think what he’ll smell like when he thaws out.’ She wrinkled her nose in disgust. ‘No point in cleaning the floor now – there’ll be people tramping in and out all day with him here.’ She grimaced at the corpse as if she held him responsible. ‘There’s a fire upstairs,’ she told Anne-Marie, ‘when you need more water, or to warm up for a bit.’
It was eerily quiet in the examining room. Anne-Marie gently wiped the green dye and river filth from the man’s cold face. His flesh felt so different from Niccolò’s warm face in her hands, with its animated play of muscles and the blood pulsing beneath her fingers. Her fingers and toes grew numb as she worked, but she remained at her chosen post, singing softly the lullabies she sang to her infant nephew. Methodically, she wrung out her rags again and again. The water in the basin turned a greenish grey. She emptied it outside, surprised to see life continuing as usual and went upstairs for more warm water. Immersed in her task, she did not notice the doctor’s return until he stood beside her. Startled, she splashed water on his coat.
‘I’m sorry.’ A flush of embarrassment rose to her cheeks. ‘This is—’ She started to explain, but he interrupted her.
‘I stopped to see Le Brun on my way in, and he told me about our mystery visitor. I told him I would examine him’ – he tipped his head at the corpse – ‘myself.’
‘Don’t clean his hands yet,’ he added. ‘I’ll want to examine them for wounds.’ She nodded.
He surprised her again by asking, ‘Can you read and write?’
‘Yes, I can. I kept the accounts for my father’s bakery.’
‘Good. It helps to remember details when someone takes notes and I have no assistant at the moment. Would you be willing to assist me this morning? Or would seeing more of the body upset you?’
More of the body? She had never seen a naked man other than her husband. She squared her shoulders and assented. ‘I would be happy to help you, doctor.’
He thought for a moment. ‘We should have a drawing of his face. He will be more recognizable with the plain lines of it in black and white, than with the swelling and the blood settling. And I have not yet had my breakfast. Could you please fetch one of the painters while I get something to eat?’
She nodded, this time happily. She and Niccolò had lived at the Gobelins for only a few months and she was always glad of an excuse to visit the artists’ studios. ‘Is there anyone in particular I should ask for?’
‘Saint-André would be best. He specializes in faces. But if he is not available, bring whoever you can.’
In the tapestry painters’ studio, several men collaborated on the large cartoons that served as patterns for the weavers. Today it was a landscape with one of the King’s châteaux in the background. Anne-Marie wished she could linger to look at the details of the cartoon and take away the memory of bright colors to warm her on this cold day. One painter was imparting a lively expression to the face of a royal page in the foreground. Intent upon his task, he confirmed that he was Monsieur Saint-André without looking up. A few more deft strokes; then he put down his brush and turned to look at her.
Reluctantly, she explained her errand. The painter exchanged his smock for a coat, grabbed his pencil – a cylinder of graphite in a reed holder – and sketch portfolio, and accompanied her to the doctor’s consulting room.
When they returned, they found Old Jean chatting with Dr Lunague with the easy familiarity of a comrade-in-arms. Anne-Marie had heard that the doctor, too, had taken part in the Thirty Years’ War. Seeing the two men side-by-side, however, it was difficult to believe they were a similar age. Life had been kinder to Lunague, with a secure post, the care of Madame Martine, and enough to eat. Unlike Old Jean, he had retained most of his teeth. A few crumbs of his breakfast were caught in his mustache. Anne-Marie had to restrain her impulse to brush them from his face, as she would have done for Niccolò.
While the doctor put on a clean apron and got out his tools for the examination, Saint-André began to sketch. The hair, now drying, revealed itself as blond. The face that emerged on paper, devoid of the green tint the water had given it, was noticeably more human but not tranquil, with a mournful downturn of the mouth.
‘How long has he been dead?’ asked Saint-André.
‘Several hours at least – the rigor is beginning to pass,’ the doctor explained, demonstrating how the man’s arms could be re-positioned with only a little effort.
‘His clothes have been soaking for at least that long,’ agreed Old Jean.
The painter looked as if he wished he hadn’t asked. He made to hand Anne-Marie the finished sketch, but Dr Lunague asked him to make two copies of it. Saint-André nodded and departed briskly, happy to leave.
The doctor placed several sheets of paper and a writing set with quills, ink and sanding pot on his desk for Anne-Marie, and a piece of velvet to hold the paper in place as she wrote. He pulled back the chair and gestured for her to sit. She wrote ‘The Body in the Bièvre’ and the date at the top of the page. Anne-Marie had never attended a medical examination, even for her own living body, much less a dead one. She found her fascination overcoming her initial repulsion, sometimes forgetting to write things down until the doctor reminded her. He carried on a dialogue with the dead man as he did the exam, asking him questions while looking for the answers. ‘Who are you? What happened that put you in the river? Let’s see if we can find out, shall we?’
‘Do you expect him to answer you?’ she asked.
‘Not with his voice, but he will tell me in other ways.’ He turned his attention back to the dead man. ‘Male, in your thirties, average height, well-fed’ – he squeezed the muscles of the man’s arm – ‘not a laborer by the feel of you. No finger or ligature marks around your throat, no smell of poison in your mouth, though after the river it’s hard to tell.’ He picked up the hands. ‘Wrists intact, no wounds, palms and fingers callused – so you worked with your hands, at least. What’s this? A button?’
Lunague carefully unwound the threads and minute fragment of blue cloth that had caught in the man’s fingers and beckoned Anne-Marie and Old Jean to look. The metal button, about an inch across, had a raised design on the front, a linked D and L. Anne-Marie made a rubbing of it with a stub of graphite Saint-André had left behind.
‘It appears to be from a servant’s livery,’ she said, but none of them recognized the insignia. She turned it over and frowned. The loop was inexpertly soldered to the disc and the texture of the back was not finished as smoothly as one would expect a fine button to be.
The doctor put it to one side and returned to his examination of the body.
‘Looks like someone caught you by surprise.’ He asked Old Jean to help him remove the man’s coat. There was blood on his shirt.
‘Look – he was stabbed, and not with a knife.’ Old Jean pointed to the wound.
Once again, he called Anne-Marie over to look, so that she could describe it accurately. She approached the table with trepidation, fearing a great gash, but saw instead a mere hole, perhaps a quarter-inch across.
‘What sort of weapon would make a wound like that?’
‘A stiletto, perhaps?’ suggested the doctor. ‘It’s shaped like a miniature sword, with a very fine, sharp point.’
‘It is hard to believe a man’s life could bleed out through that,’ she said.
‘It could if the weapon was long enough,’ the doctor told her. ‘Penetrating between the ribs, it could nick a vital organ and kill him outright or incapacitate him and let the river do the rest. We could open him up to find out, I suppose’ – he cast a glance at Anne-Marie, who looked unhappy but dared not protest – ‘but let us see what else we can learn from him before we resort to that.’ Slowly she let out her breath in relief. He gave her an understanding smile.
Old Jean helped him turn the body over. A nasty wound on the back of the head had broken the skin but not, said Lunague, probing it with his fingers, the skull underneath.
He then turned his attention to the man’s clothing. The leather shoes did not yield any clues. The wool coat and trousers, of good quality, were worn and repaired in several places. The coat pockets contained only a few sous, a sodden handkerchief and a small half-finished carving of a child’s toy. The darning on the linen shirt had been done with an expert needle.
‘It seems he had a wife,’ Anne-Marie suggested.
‘Or a housekeeper. Mine keeps me in good repair.’
Anne-Marie pointed out the series of small hearts in running stitch worked into one of the darns. ‘And does she add these to your linens when she mends them?’
He gave a startled bark of laughter. ‘I hope not. I’ve never looked, but I wouldn’t think so.’ He gave Anne-Marie an admiring glance. ‘You have a good eye.’ He pointed to the stitched hearts. ‘I did not notice that.’
She flushed with pleasure at his praise.
Old Jean had picked up the man’s coat and was examining it, out of habit, to see whether something might be tucked away – in a hidden inner pocket, perhaps. Prudent men did not carry valuables where pickpockets could easily find them. His attention drawn to a clumsily stitched place on the hem, his fingers discerned a coin beneath it. He looked for other areas similarly stitched and found them on the cuffs, hem and lapels, six in all. The doctor snipped the thread with his scissors to reveal a louis d’or in each one.
‘Gold?’ exclaimed Anne-Marie. The others were as surprised as she. The doctor placed the coins on the tray, where they contrasted strangely with the humble contents of the pockets.
‘It looks like he did his own sewing in those places,’ Anne-Marie said, turning her attention back to the coat. ‘Why didn’t he ask his wife? She is a much better seamstress.’
‘Perhaps he didn’t want her to know,’ the doctor replied. ‘Or maybe she’s gone, and he was doing his best on his own.’
‘But if she is alive,’ Anne-Marie countered, ‘she will want to know what happened to him – and she will need this money.’
Old Jean cleared his throat. ‘Remember it was me that found him.’ His eyes flicked from the gleaming coins to the doctor’s face. He might not rob a dead man of his coat, but gold was much harder to resist.
The doctor thought briefly and agreed. ‘Take this now.’ Lunague handed him a louis d’or. ‘I’ll keep the rest in my strongbox in case there is a widow as Madame Bruno believes. If there isn’t, you may have them.’
Old Jean grinned at them as he pocketed the coin and stepped back against the wall. Anne-Marie wondered how long it had been since he had had so much money at one time.
There was no puncture in the coat corresponding to the one in the shirt.
‘Was he stabbed with his coat off, and someone put the coat on him again afterwards?’
‘Not necessarily. Professional killers can get the stiletto in under the coat. If you’ll excuse me,’ he faced her and in a quick smooth motion tapped her jacket at the side of her rib and drew the hand back, ‘that’s all it would take.’
She shivered. ‘Did he know his attacker, then, facing him like that? Or was he set upon by surprise?’
The doctor shook his head. ‘We don’t know that – yet.’
Anne-Marie’s glance fell on the carving that had been in the man’s pocket. ‘Shall I ask Niccolò to come look at it?’ she asked with shy pride.
The doctor, glad of a reason to smile after this sad examination, consented. ‘Yes, bring your husband.’
It was good to be out in the fresh air, however cold. She tapped on the studio door with their special signal, the one they had used when he was a lodger in her father’s house.
He was smiling as he opened the door. ‘Here? Now?’
‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ she scoffed, but offered her lips for a kiss. When she explained her errand, he gathered up his kit of tools. At the surgery, he examined the small toy, roughed out in the shape of a cat sleeping on her side, her paws tucked neatly under her. He exclaimed with pleasure at the quality of the workmanship of the finished parts.
‘Was it a gift for a child? His child? Did he leave behind a family as well as a wife?’ Anne-Marie did not realize she had spoken out loud. She was surprised when Niccolò answered, ‘Not necessarily. He could have been making it for one of the booths at a Christmas market. I made toys to sell when I was an apprentice in Rome.’
He felt the man’s hands and pointed to identical calluses on his own. ‘He was a woodcarver by profession.’ He looked over the contents of the pockets with a puzzled expression. ‘Where did you put his knife?’
‘There wasn’t one,’ Anne-Marie replied.
‘Are you sure?’
‘I wrote down all the contents myself.’ She shuffled through her notes to find the list.
‘I believe you,’ he hastened to assure her. ‘But a woodcarver does not carry unfinished work in his pockets without carrying also the tools he would need to finish it.’ He took the appropriate knife from his kit to show them. ‘If it is not here, where is it?’
‘Perhaps he left it in his killer,’ the doctor suggested. ‘At least, we can hope he did.’ His voice and face displayed a grim satisfaction at the thought.
‘Could he have killed the other man with a blade as small as that?’ Anne-Marie asked.
‘Yes, if it cut him here,’ the doctor responded pointing to a vein in his own neck.
Niccolò paled at the thought; his hand went instinctively to protect his neck. ‘I should return to the studio,’ he said as he prepared to take his leave.
As he stepped outside, they could see a man striding purposefully across the courtyard toward the doctor’s office. Anne-Marie held the door open for him. ‘Gabriel Ferrand, Commissaire of Police,’ the visitor introduced himself. ‘Monsieur Le Brun sent for me earlier this morning, but I was not able to get away until now.’
‘Anne-Marie Bruno,’ she replied, making the curtsy a man of his rank would expect. Ferrand was dressed entirely in brown – wig, suit, gloves, and boots – relieved only by the white of his shirt. He was young for such a responsibility, she thought, no more than thirty-five or so, but there was no mistaking the intelligence of the brown eyes that gave her a quick assessing look, as if wondering whether she might be some miscreant he sought.
He greeted the doctor and Old Jean with the familiarity of long acquaintance. Clearly, they had been of help to him on other occasions.
Ferrand crossed the room to look intently at the face of the dead man. ‘I don’t know him, and he does not fit the description of anyone we’ve been looking for. He came from the Bièvre, Le Brun said. Another drunk falling into the water, I take it?’
‘No,’ replied Lunague, and showed him the wounds.
The Commissaire grimaced with a sharp intake of breath. ‘Murder.’ His glance flicked to the man’s face. ‘Who did this to you?’ His own expression had hardened.
‘This was caught in his fingers.’ Lu
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