Charles O’Brien is Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Carleton University in Canada. He has published articles on film historiography and on relations between film theory and practice.
Mute Witness: An Anne Cartier Mysteryby Charles O'Brien
- LendMe LendMe™ Learn More
Picture the Scarlet Pimpernell as a woman—dealing with murder before the Terror made heads roll… It’s the eve of the French Revolution. Fiscal crisis and social tensions brew. Anne Cartier, a headstrong young vaudeville actress at Sadler’s Wells company in London hears terrible news. Her stepfather, the actor Antoine Dubois has mysteriously died in Paris. The official verdict: he killed his mistress, then himself. Anne enlists the aid of Colonel Paul de Saint-Martin and his adjutant Georges Charpentier of the royal highway patrol. But, in her search for truth, Anne befriends a deaf, illiterate seamstress with a talent for puppetry who gives Anne an entre into the Palais Royale. Her quest further confronts her with an amateur theatrical society of dissolute young noblemen; a tormented female botanist; a sadistic aesthete; a rich, well-connected financier; a professional assassin. Unravelling the mystery tests Anne’s nerve as well as her remarkable acrobatic skills. At a critical juncture in the investigation, she acts the part of an exotic queen in Indian costume at a reception. Priceless Indian jewelry disappears. Its owner, an aged count is murdered. And a venal police inspector threatens to derail Anne’s project. The story rises to a violent climax in a vast limestone caveoutside Paris where the city has begun to bury its dead. Historian O’Brien’s debut novel is elegantly written as befits the times and explores borders between countries and between layers of society. Few have chosen to place a crime novel here. O’Brien makes us wonder why.
Meet the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
In 1785, France is predominantly a two-class society with the frivolous aristocracy running roughshod over the common folk and the small bourgeoisie. Nowhere is that more indicative than the so-called justice system where very little evidence is needed to throw a peasant in jail. The privileged hide behind their wealth and position to stop any charges being brought against them. The alleged murder-suicide case of Antoine Dubois and Lelia La Plante is based on skimpy circumstantial evidence to draw such a conclusion. Antoine's stepdaughter Anne rejects the official position. At the invitation of Countess Maria she comes to France accompanied by her nephew Colonel Paul de Saint Martin of the Royal Highway Patrol. Marie confides in Anne that there is more to Antoine's death than a simple suicide. Working together with Maria and Paul, Anne goes undercover where she begins to find proof that a double murder occurred. As she steps closer to the truth, several influential people want her to end her investigation or they will dispatch her just as they did her stepfather. Charles O'Brien uses the fictional narrative to show why the wide gap in class structure led to the revolution. The historical background allows the clever story line to easily flow over it. The heroine refuses to back down from her quest to obtain the truth. Before they realize it, readers are flowing along with the absorbing plot that makes MUTE WITNESS a riveting historical mystery. Harriet Klausner
Force mate here
Ok. He hugs her and smiles.