The Shadow of the Dead

Danielle Thiéry

300 pages May 2008 Original publisher: Editions Anne CarriereCrime Fiction

Under pressure to uncover the corrupt officer in her department, Commissioner Marion finds herself side-tracked by the disappearance of her lover. Until she realizes the two problems are linked

Tough-as-nails Police Commissioner Edwige Marion has fallen in love. It was a chance meeting between her and Victor de la Ferrière in the Gare du Nord — the huge train station for which she’s responsible — and she’s been on cloud nine ever since. But suddenly Victor has gone missing – it has been almost a week since Marion spoke to him, his assistant is vague about his whereabouts – and Marion is beside herself with worry.

Unfortunately, Marion’s distraction is starting to interfere with her police work. There has been an attack during a high-security transfer from Belgium and a key prisoner was murdered on Marion’s watch. Internal Affairs are on the case, and it is likely they will find her department at fault – especially as the deadly bullets were fired by a service revolver, which has since gone missing. Everything points to foul play, and it seems that someone within the department was involved. If Marion hopes to keep her job, she will need to uncover the renegade cop before Internal Affairs.

Still, instead of this urgent mission, Marion finds herself looking for Victor. She’s not only driven by her obsession for her missing lover, but also something else, something that she can’t quite put her finger on. On an impulse, she jumps aboard the commuter train that Victor used to take and her investigation takes on a new dimension.

Sitting down in Victor’s usual carriage and eavesdropping on the working girls chatting together, Marion starts to sense that something is not quite right. One throw away comment makes her realize that Victor may not be innocent, while a second remark makes her wonder whether these girls are also linked to the bad officer in her department.

As in her previous novels, The Shadow of Death is enriched by Danielle Thiéry’s real-life experience as a police officer; she brings alive her characters with details of the officers’ (and criminals’) daily life and she succeeds in balancing both poignant humanity and suspense.