The Unknown Woman of the Seine - A Novel
Publisher: Delphinium Books
A mysterious woman is suspected of murder at the 1889 Paris Expo in this historical novel of “gorgeous prose” by the author of The Chess Garden (Kirkus Reviews). Paris, 1889. When the body of an unknown woman appears on the banks of the Seine, it is put on display at the morgue behind Notre Dame, according to protocol. Though the woman is never identified, her eerie beauty is so captivating that a death mask is made of her face. The mask would become one of the most famous curios of the twentieth century. Set during the final days of 1889’s Exposition Universelle, Brooks Hansen’s fascinating novel speculates on who this mysterious woman was. Disgraced former Gendarme Henri Brassard is returning to Paris, determined to reclaim his place in La Force. When he crosses paths with a suspicious woman in a gypsy wagon, he suspects her of a brutal crime. Tracking her through the city, Brassard observes from the shadows as she winds her way into the orbit of several savory and unsavory characters—an artist, an impresario, a madame, a countess—each of whom sees in her a chance for profit or redemption; any one of whom may therefore be responsible for her sudden and unexplained disappearance. Brassard’s chase will lead him on a grand tour of nineteenth-century Paris, from its highest spires to its darkest catacombs. By the end, he will learn the stunning truth of the unknown woman’s identity, but not before unearthing the equally disturbing truth about himself.