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Chapter One


A Floater in the Seine



Hey, Andre.” De Garmeaux nodded at the floater. “Anything special?”

Nah.” Sergeant Andre Levain shrugged. “It’s just another poor and anonymous soul who couldn’t take it anymore.”

A small group of onlookers on the street above stood in contrast to the pedestrians with umbrellas open and faces to the wind, refusing to even acknowledge their presence as they scurried past to their workplace. A line of buildings, windows impenetrable due to glare and grime, ignored the disruption and reflected and amplified shouts, bicycle bells and car horns. A few bleary-eyed faces were visible in a brightly lit café on the far side of the street as they read the papers and sipped scalding coffees.

It was another morning in Paris. Life had its logic and a certain pace in spite of all distractions. A barge headed past downstream. The faces in an open window ignored the event and the spectacle, intent upon their own business undertakings.

Andre shivered involuntarily. The slanting grey rain hissed down, making puddles jump and splatter with its violence. The river, serene in its relentless push to the sea, made its own contribution to the wetness of the sounds all around them as it lapped at the shoreline and gurgled past small rocks at the edge. His shoes squelched as he shifted from side to side on the narrow shore. There was a smell of rotting fish in the air, suggestive of darker events.

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