Willi Kraus was a celebrity detective back in Germany. Now a recent refugee in 1933 Paris with no legal status, he lives in fear of deportation back to his homeland, which is now ruled by Nazis. Kraus is a widower whose two sons are living with his sister-in-law. His mother- and father-in-law came to Paris well ahead of him and have established financial means. They are supporting Willi’s family while he tries to make a place for himself in his new home. Willi is desperate for working papers and employment. He befriends charismatic Andre Duval, who lives large and is promoting a big-time investment scheme. Duval seeks companionship while also looking to invest Willi’s father-in-law’s money.
Willi is summoned to the office of police chief Victoir Orsini, a political climber, who wants a press photo with the famous detective. He is offered an undercover job to follow the activities of a university student named Junot, and soon witnesses the youth’s coldblooded murder down in the Metro. Junot’s dying word is “Vivi,” the name of a beautiful girl with whom he’s had more than one romantic rendezvous. Though Willi has no police badge, he is determined to find Junot’s murderer and bring him to justice. Willi’s fragile position as a foreigner in France makes every move of his self-directed investigation risky to himself and the future of his family. He often expresses worries that his escape to Paris may not be far enough from the reaches of the Third Reich.
This intellectual thriller keeps its audience intrigued through the end. Descriptions of Paris are quite detailed as Willi Kraus follows the clues of this case of French corruption at the highest levels.
Miriam Bradman Abrahams, mom, grandmom, avid reader, sometime writer, born in Havana, raised in Brooklyn, residing in Long Beach on Long Island. Longtime former One Region One Book chair and JBC liaison for Nassau Hadassah, currently presenting Incident at San Miguel with author AJ Sidransky who wrote the historical fiction based on her Cuban Jewish refugee family’s experiences during the revolution. Fluent in Spanish and Hebrew, certified hatha yoga instructor.