Days of Atonement: A Mystery

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St. Martin's Press, Apr 1, 2008 - Fiction - 368 pages
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"Be very careful, sir!" the young officer warned. "Colonel Lavedrine is a guest of this house, and this nation. I can hardly believe that any Prussian would be so foolhardy to doubt his word. Every man in Paris has heard of his capacities. I see no reason why this Professor Kant of yours should not have heard of them, too."

Lavedrine sat back in his seat, a thin smile on his lips, stroking his chin with his thumb and forefinger. He seemed to be scrutinizing me, curious to hear what my reply would be.

"If Colonel Lavedrine can prove the truth of what he says," I returned, glancing between my accuser and the man I had accused, "I will apologize with all my heart. And if that apology does not satisfy him," I added, leaning back in my chair, shrugging my shoulder, "the prison cells are waiting for Prussians such as me, who are obliged to have guests such as you!"

I suddenly realized that the room was silent.

It is 1807 and Napoleon's army has swept over Prussia, leaving in its wake a conquered land occupied by the French. Local magistrate Hanno Stiffeniis has retreated to his home in the countryside in the hopes that he can keep himself away from the scrutiny of the occupying forces. But when Serge Lavedrine, Paris's famed criminologist, requires his services, Stiffeniis has little choice but to accept.

Three children have been found massacred in their beds. Their mother has disappeared without a trace. Terrified by the gruesome murders, the local townspeople have become convinced that the crimes are the work of the local Jewish population. The ghetto has been closed off, but the crowds gathered in the streets are desperate for justice of any kind. The French authorities want nothing more than a quick resolution and an end to the hysteria that has gripped the town.

Stiffeniis has his own reasons for accepting the case. The victims' father serves as a soldier in remote Kamentz, where the resistance to Napoleon's occupation is already developing. If Stiffeniis cannot discover the whereabouts of the mother and the identity of the murderer in time, he risks exposing the Prussian rebellion to the French before it has the strength to succeed. To succeed he must once again put to use the powers of deduction learned from his late teacher, the famed philosopher Immanuel Kant.

Michael Gregorio's internationally bestselling debut, Critique of Criminal Reason, was hailed by critics across the world and named one of Playboy's Best Books of 2006. Now its sequel, Days of Atonement, marks the thrilling return of one the most talented new voices in historical fiction.

 

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DAYS OF ATONEMENT

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

In turbulent 19th-century Prussia, a magistrate is summoned from his country refuge to solve a heinous multiple murder.Man of letters and narrator Hanno Stiffeniis and his wife Helena attend Count ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - StuartAston - LibraryThing

This book is set in Prussia during the time of the Napoleonic invasion. The body of two children are found in the woods and their mother has not been seens for days. Both the French and Prussians want ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Chapter 1
1
Chapter 2
6
Chapter 3
17
Chapter 4
21
Chapter 5
26
Chapter 6
31
Chapter 7
37
Chapter 8
46
Chapter 24
176
Chapter 25
185
Chapter 26
193
Chapter 27
202
Chapter 28
211
Chapter 29
220
Chapter 30
229
Chapter 31
238

Chapter 9
56
Chapter 10
65
Chapter 11
75
Chapter 12
84
Chapter 13
89
Chapter 14
97
Chapter 15
101
Chapter 16
107
Chapter 17
115
Chapter 18
124
Chapter 19
132
Chapter 20
139
Chapter 21
148
Chapter 22
158
Chapter 23
165
Chapter 32
247
Chapter 33
256
Chapter 34
265
Chapter 35
276
Chapter 36
288
Chapter 37
299
Chapter 38
303
Chapter 39
315
Chapter 40
324
Chapter 41
332
Chapter 42
340
Chapter 43
347
Chapter 44
353
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

MICHAEL GREGORIO is the pen name of Michael G. Jacob and Daniela De Gregorio. She teaches philosophy; he teaches English. They live in Spoleto, Italy. Michael Gregorio was awarded the Umbria del Cuore prize in 2007.

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