My Book – “A Cold Death”

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“A Cold Death”

In Paris, American Sorbonne film student Adele Longet is murdered in her apartment late at night.

Aristotle Witzer, a Defense Analyst new to America’s Paris embassy, is working late to unpack in his new office.  The Charge D’Affaires calls and orders Witzer to get the police report.  He is the only person in the building and not an investigator.   He goes.

Witzer starts an unexpected adventure into a murder investigation.  He heads to Adele’s Latin Quarter apartment, meeting a surly French policeman.    Detective Odile believes Adele was murdered by a junkie burglar stealing for drugs.  Witzer has doubts.   At the Police Prefecture the next day, he get the runaround and not a report, but does get permission to collect Adele’s school belongings for her parents.

At the University, Witzer meets the professor who supervised Adele’s documentary about France’s World War II Nazi collaborators.  Opening her locker, Witzer is stunned to find hashish and cocaine – and calls Odile.   Meeting in Pantheon’s crypt, Odile persuades Witzer to inquire about Adele’s crew and acquaintances – one might be her murderer.    His outsider status won’t draw suspicion.  Unexposed French collaborators?  Drug dealers?    Or French criminal kingpins?

Unspooling the trail of her documentary, Witzer questions old French Resistance fighters, students and uber wealthy Americans in searching for her killer.  He uncovers a world of film fanatics, Catacombs lovers, Paris’ criminal Godfather and spiders in the dark web of France’s Nazi past.

His search draws him into Paris’ famed Catacombs where underground rave parties blaze until dawn with ecstasy, sex and cinema.  This vast subterranean web of tunnels, called the “Empire of Death”, has been the haunt of debauched French nobility,  the refuge of heretics, the sanctuary of Resistance Fighters and is now the domain of students and underground travelers – ‘Cataphiles’ – who revel in Underground Paris.

Witzer is getting closer to the truth when the killer kidnaps his daughter,  vowing to make her disappear into the Catacombs’ black holes – unless he returns binders from Adele’s locker.  Filled with seemingly worthless paper flyers, the binders hold blotter ecstasy –  a drug stash worth a fortune in Euros.

On a hot summer night, when Paris’ famed music festival – Musique de la Fete – shuts down Paris with musicians on every corner, he searches for a drug lab with the answer to Adele’s murder – and his daughter’s rescue.  The lab is the nexus between student raves and the criminal underworld in a scheme to execute one of France’s most notorious prisoners – live on the Internet.

Witzer rises to the occasion, and even more so afterward, when accomplices, today and past,  must be accorded their punishments in serving up “A Cold Death”.