The Chatelet Apprentice-Jean-Francois Parot

The Chatelet Apprentice
Jean-Francois Parot
Gallic Books, Sep 24 2013, $15.95
ISBN: 9781906040062

In 1761 twentyish Nicholas Le Floch arrives in Paris with a letter from his godfather asking Lieutenant General of Police Monsieur De Sartine to hire the lad. No one, not even the Paris magistrate, who wants to remain employed, ignores a request from a Marquis and besides De Ranreuil is a friend so Nicholas becomes a police officer. Nicholas knows his godfather wanted him out of Brittany; after he and De Ranreuil’s daughter Isabelle declared their love for each other, but wonders about the older man’s enigmatic response.

After fifteen months in Paris working cases discreetly, De Sartine shows how much he trusts Le Floch when he assigns him to investigate prudently the disappearance of Police Commissioner Lardin. Assisting Le Floch on the inquiry is Police Inspector Bordeau.

The Chatelet Apprentice is a fabulous eighteenth century French police procedural that brings to life pre-Revolutionary Paris through the eyes of a resolute honest newcomer. The support cast serves as foibles for the protagonist or to anchor time and place while the final denouements re the case comes across too passive and the hero’s personal mystery seems obvious early on. Still sub-genre fans will appreciate this enjoyable historical as the storyline, for the most part, achieves the Gallic vision of “The best of French in English.”

Harriet Klausner

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