False Patriots

Written by Charles O’Brien
Review by James Hawking

Anne Cartier, an Englishwoman living in revolutionary Paris, continues to solve crimes in the ninth of this series of mysteries. In June of 1791, anti-clerical feeling has resulted in the murder of an Irish priest, setting off still more killings. Anne uses her sign language skills, learned in the institution established by l’Abbé de l’Épée, to protect an unjustly accused deaf suspect and the abused deaf wife of an anti-clerical radical. Anne’s husband, the head of the gendarmes, is suspected of having ties to the old regime, but he does his best to see that justice is done in spite of political interference.

Anne uncovers revolutionary rivalries, municipal corruption and caddish behavior as she searches for suspects and motives. The best feature of the book comes from Anne’s interaction with her deaf friend, a lady artist, whose observations and sketches help to solve the series of crimes as they unfold. O’Brien captures the chaos of the French Revolution while telling the story of the birth of sign language education for the deaf. Highly recommended.