Furst’s prose is almost understated but he conjures up a universe. Wartime Paris is lovingly depicted: the smell of wet leaves, the taste of chicory coffee, the flics in their rain capes, a loaded glance across a café. Most of all, the sense of menace.
Unlike Renko and Wiley, Paul Ricard is not a professional investigator. Like many of Furst’s protagonists, he is an everyman figure thrust into peril, a novelist who witnesses the death of a resistance fighter. As Ricard crouches over the dying man, he thrusts a folded sheet of paper into Ricard’s pocket: a blueprint of some kind. Ricard’s first thought is to get rid of it. The inked lines spell clear danger.