An Excerpt from Murder On The Rue Cassette, a work in progress
Here’s a snippet from Serafina’s soon-to-be published fourth mystery, Murder On The Rue Cassette. The story takes place in Paris—a Sicilian countess is murdered in Paris and Serafina is commissioned to investigate. Oh, and there’s a sidecar to Aix-en-Provence where Serafina encounters a mind gone feral.
Paris, April 1874
The streets were noisy. Parisians who crossed in front of carriages and carters seemed happy to be going home. Plane trees lined the boulevards, and the sky was a wash of cerulean as the driver took the Pont Royal to the Rue du Bac. Serafina listened to the clop of hooves.
They turned onto the Rue Jacob filled with memories of a delicious slip she’d had in a small hotel over twenty years ago. Oh, to be young again and in Paris. As she watched university students gather, she warmed to the thought of adventure. But unfortunately, she had mystery on the mind.
They clopped down the Rue Bonaparte past St. Sulpice and she heard the unmistakable sounds of an organ, perhaps Charles-Marie Widor practicing for a concert. It struck her that there was a sense of life here, an unforgettable style of color, sound, and line that merged to create an energy she no longer felt at home.
The driver stopped across from the entrance to the Luxembourg Gardens and said he’d wait for her. With the map in her hand, she walked slowly up the Rue de Vaugirard. It was a very long street and she hoped she wasn’t too far from her destination. When she found herself facing the round backside of St. Sulpice again, she realized she’d walked in the wrong direction. So she headed back, her eyes glued to her map, and bumped into a policeman who hung onto her shoulders to prevent her from falling.
He tipped his cap and smiled. “Pardon, Madame, let me help you. You’re lost.”
“Too kind.” A Parisian policeman, how handsome. She loved his tall kepis. “I’m sure it’s nearby. I search for the Rue Cassette.”
“Visiting someone?” he asked as he led the way.
“Not exactly. I investigate the death of a woman whose body was found on that street last week.”
Photo: In the Conservatory, Édouard Manet, 1879