Noble Blood by Charles O'Brien

Charles O’Brien’s third installment in the Anne Cartier Mystery Series entitled Noble Blood is as good as the previous two books.O’Brien has a gift of bringing historical times to life.

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Here is an excerpt from Publishers Weekly about the plot:

Anne Cartier, teacher of the deaf and wife of Col. Paul de Saint-Martin of the Royal Highway Patrol, comes to the defense of Denise de Villers, a housemaid and former pupil at the Institute for the Deaf where Anne works, when Denise is accused of murdering the duchesse de Saumur, a close friend of Marie Antoinette’s.  Paul’s well-connected aunt journeys with Anne and Paul to the royal palace at Versailles, where they soon become involved in a tangled web of treachery, conspiracy and intrigue.  As Paul says, “Pursuing the truth can cause a mess. Old wounds open up, incriminating lies are exposed.”  In their effort to prove the deaf maid’s innocence, they uncover corruption and deception that touch everyone from servants and courtiers to church leaders and the queen herself.


With each of O’Brien’s novels, I appreciate his depth of historical knowledge more.  He portrays pre-Revolutionary France perfectly – especially the upper classes.  With this novel, O’Brien describes the rampant corruption in the French government and the king’s lack of leadership.  He also begins to interweave the social tensions in France into the plot – some of the characters begin to openly show their disdain for the French nobility (primarily Anne and Georges Charpentier, Paul’s assistant).  I think this open disdain by the characters is setting the stage for the fate of the characters during the French Revolution – we shall see.


The list of characters is wonderful.  Everyone from Queen Marie Antoinette’s lover (not the king) to the most humble of public servants is brought to life.  It is interesting to see how O’Brien brings light to all members of French society through the investigations of Paul, Anne, and Georges.  The number of suspects keeps you guessing until the end of the book.


Noble Blood will keep you enthralled throughout.

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