Best Historical Mystery. The Hanged Man by Gary Inbinder. The second in this series set in fin-de-seicle Paris is another example of an author mixing together all the elements for an excellent historical mystery: an intelligent protagonist, interesting secondary characters, a worthy villain and an atmospheric setting. Detective Achille Lefebvre gets the most difficult cases assigned to his police brigade including the recent body found hanging from a park bridge. Using new techniques like fingerprinting and photography, he works with his colleagues, a former partner he no longer trusts, the Deuxieme Bureau for military intelligence and certain characters from the Parisian underworld to confront a devious adversary manipulating the anarchists, Marxists and other revolutionaries residing in the city at the time. Running concurrently with the case are his troubles at home with his wife, live-in mother-in-law, and defiant toddler daughter and whether success will bring additional complications as he moves into the higher spheres of police power. Reading the debut title in the series, The Devil in Montmartre, is not necessary to enjoy this one, but is recommended.
For all my previous “books of the year” lists, see my dedicated page for these titles.