The novel begins in the present day with a murder whose tendrils stretch back to the second world war. An elderly woman is savagely killed in Orléans, France, in the manner once reserved for those who had betrayed the Resistance: her throat is cut and her tongue removed. Dogged inspector of police Inès Picaut must investigate the actions of the Maquis in the 1940s and their hidden bloody battle against German occupiers in order to solve the crime. Scott adroitly balances the present day murder investigation with insights into the bravery and betrayal of the French Resistance. She addresses moral questions about fascism cogently; her writing is as commanding as ever.
An old woman is found murdered in a car in Orleans. Police inspector Inès Picaut investigates and discovers that, in the Forties, the woman was known as Sophie Destivelle, a Resistance fighter. But as Picaut digs deeper it becomes murkier about whose side Sophie was on. Who murdered her and why? An engrossing and ingenious thriller that moves between now and wartime France.
The superb A Treachery of Spies... Novels with split narratives carry the risk that one strand will outshine the other, but there’s no danger of that here. The whodunnit is as good as any Fred Vargas mystery — and its outcome sheds light not only on what happened in the Jura in 1944-45, but more broadly on how the anti-Nazi struggle shaped the postwar decades — while the wartime chapters are realised with a blend of historical imagination and storytelling verve reminiscent of Robert Harris.