A spooky mystery set in the 1680s, in the Paris of Louis XIV. Mlle. de Scuderi – an elderly gentlewoman who is in the confidence of the king and his maitresse, Madame de Maintenon – gets involved, very much against her own will, in the efforts to clear up a string of brutal robbery-murders, as well as the death of Paris’s most famous jeweller. She isn’t actually the person to solve the crimes, but acts as a powerful intermediary on behalf of someone wrongfully accused, and her advocacy on his behalf eventually leads to the solution.
Those familiar with the real-life Edinburgh tale of Deacon Brodie may find some elements of this story familiar.
I read this in German; Hoffmann’s language is rather florid (and might well be too florid for me under different circumstances), but somehow it fits the setting and mood of this story very well.