” Hugo, this whole thing is far-fetched. Every step of it has been insane, so try me. And how many times do I have to point out that life has taught me to be a little more open-minded than some people? ” (Ch.34, p.246)
(Hugo Marston Series #3) In The Blood Promise, Mark Pryor weaves a historical myth from 1795 France into a modern day murder mystery. Hugo Marston, the US Embassy Head of Security in Paris, is asked to escort US Senator (a prospective presidential candidate) Charles Lake, while he is in France to negotiate Guadeloupe’s petition to become part of the United States. The talks are arranged to take place in the country west of Paris, at the house of the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, in Chateau Tourville. While at the chateau, Hugo becomes intrigued with an antique sailor’s chest. During his stay at the chateau, the senator believes he has been drugged, and vaguely recalls an intruder in his room at night. All talks are suspended when the senator demands an investigation into who was in his room.
The Bassin family is as old as the hills. And they’ve lived in that house for a couple of hundred years . . . I think that something dodgy happened toward the end of the 1700s. (Ch.32, p.229)
Hugo calls on his friend, Parisian cop Captaine Raul Garcia, to brush for fingerprint in the chateau. Among the many fingerprints found in the bedroom where the senator slept is one that ties into a robbery-murder in Troyes, a suburb of Paris. While the owner of the chateau refuses to cooperate in the investigation, Garcia and Marston interview the murdered victim’s son, Georges Bassin. They discover that an antique sailor’s chest was among the stolen items. Hugo suspects that secrets within the old chest are the linchpin to the murders. The evidence points to a close friend or member of the Tourville family. As the killing begins and the leads narrow, the evidence, surprising to all, is found in the chest that contains a 200-year-old secret that could imperil international politics.
When events do happen in this book, they happen with a bang and with a completely unexpected twist. Despite a slightly slow start, The Blood Promise has a devious plot, and one must pay careful attention to the story in order to fully appreciate the nuance and to ready for the twist when the secret is revealed.
286 pp. Seventh Street Books. Trade Paper. [Read|Skim|Toss] [Buy|Borrow]