The Hanged Man by Gary Inbinder
The Hanged Man is a murder mystery set in Paris at the end of the 1800’s.
“Achille Lefebvre and his wife Adele are planning to enjoy a stay at a seaside resort…until a body found hanging from a bridge in a public park demands the Inspector’s attention.
Is it suicide or murder?A twisted tale of evidence draws Inspector Lefebvre into a shadowy underworld of international intrigue, espionage, and terrorism. Time is of the essence, pressure mounts on the police to get results. Achille’s chief orders him to work with his former partner, Inspector Rousseau, now in charge of a special unit in the newly formed political brigade. But can Achille trust the detective who let him down on another case?
Inspector Lefebvre uses innovative forensics and a network of police spies to uncover a secret alliance, a scheme involving the sale of a cutting-edge high explosives, and an assassination plot that threatens to ignite a world war.”
Inbinder tells his story in an omniscient narrative voice. He has done his historical research for the story involving Russian spies in France, threats of revolution and the newly discovered forensics of fingerprinting.
I found his dialogues stilted and unrealistic. On the plus side, he does attempt to inject his work with interesting vocabulary. He has obviously used a thesaurus to create variety, and kudos to him for that, but unfortunately his knowledge of nuance is lacking, thus making his choice of words, though technically correct, unsuited to the context in which he uses them. This in turn causes his already stiff narrative to have a jarring quality.
Though he sets up the discovery of clues as per the mystery novel formula, his foreshadowing is heavy handed and clumsy. Equally awkward is his attempt at portraying the marital relationship.
Having said all that, the Inspector does get his man and all’s well that ends well.
Sorry Mr. Inbinder, but I am unable to give you more than two stars for this short novel.
Review by Christine