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    MUTE WITNESS by Charles O'Brien

    Poisoned Pen Press, 2001

    When she learns of her stepfather's death, Anne Cartier joins handsome Colonel Paul De Saint-Martin in a trip to Paris. She is certain that he could not be guilty of the murder and suicide that the French officials have accused him of. Once in Paris, however, Anne learns that her stepfather's death is part of a larger scheme--a scheme involving some of the most important men in Ancien Regime France and huge thefts of precious jems and art works.

    Through a repeated series of lucky coincidences, Anne, a teacher of the deaf, discovers a secret witness to the murder her stepfather was accused of, narrowly averts being abducted into a sadists lair, and discovers the secrets of the jewel thefts that shock all of France. Despite a complete unwillingness to take any precautions, Anne somehow manages to survive, eventually uncovering the full magnitude of the plot.

    Author Charles O'Brien has set his historical mystery, MUTE WITNESS in the fascinating time immediately before the French Revolution. France continues to reel under the debt load it took on in its efforts to help America win its independence and is held hostage by bankers with ever-greater power. Thomas Jefferson walks the streets of Paris and Voltaire, Rousseau, and the other intellectual giants of the enlightenment are remembered firsthand.

    Underdeveloped characters and a string of lucky coincidences marr a novel that shows real promise.

    One Star

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