Game of Patience
by Susanne Alleyn
Paris, 1796. Aristide Ravel, freelance undercover police agent and investigator, is confronted with a double murder in a fashionable apartment. The victims are Célie Montereau, the daughter of a wealthy and influential family, and the man who was blackmailing her.
A friend of Célie’s, Rosalie Clément, an enigmatic, bitter young woman, provides Aristide with intelligence that steers him toward a young man, Philippe Aubry. Aubry has a violent past and was in love with Célie, but further inquiry reveals that–according to an eyewitness–he cannot have been her murderer.
As time passes, Aristide finds himself reluctantly attracted to the prickly Rosalie, although he suspects that she knows more about the murders than she will say. From the gritty back alleys of Paris to its glittering salons and cafés, through the heart of the feverish, decadent society of postrevolutionary France, Aristide’s investigation leads him into a puzzle involving hidden secrets, crimes of passion, and long-nurtured hatreds.
(91,000 words; ebook $3.99 USD)
Reviews of Game of Patience
Full of authentic historical detail, ranging from the rise of General Bonaparte to the antics of flamboyant incroyables, the story builds to an emotionally charged climax in which Aristide reveals painful secrets from his own past. —Publishers Weekly
This is a true puzzle mystery, with the detective reexamining the facts several times until the solution is found. Alleyn knows her French Revolution, creates a complex brain-teaser of a mystery, and excels in making her characters believable. In short, this book has everything; recommended. —Library Journal
Grounded by a complex, haunted hero, the suspense in this layered mystery builds slowly but reaches a breakneck speed. —Booklist
To take the measure of Alleyn’s writing, one would have to go past today’s fine mystery writers and reach back to three great whodunit writers of the first half of the 20th century—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton and Agatha Christie… The novel is riveting along its circuitous route and startling denouement. It goes forward, backward, sideward and nearly upside down in its intense cliffhanger brilliance… Aristide Ravel, the undercover police agent, is the kind of charismatic, intensely human detective that is central to all good mystery writing. So good indeed, that one wishes for a series of Ravel novels from Alleyn’s pen. —Register Star/Hudson Valley Newspapers