Perhaps not so many were stabbed in the back, but many feared it. The troops fear that the Parisians might revolt if they hear about a victory at Stalingrad, but there are more enemies within their numbers. Black marketers, for instance: Frenchmen and Germans, happy to sell and re-sell whatever they can; men in uniform, German troops and French collaborators; collaborating with the occupying powers, filling the trains going back to Germany, but collaborating as well with criminal colleagues happy to divert whatever will fill their own pockets.
As Kohler and St-Cyr discover, the pillaged products of the Soviet Union have brought their poisons across the Reich - infected bees and hives pillaged from Ukrainian farms have brought their diseases to France. De Bonnevies, the murdered beekeeper, in protesting about disease threatened to reveal a wide reaching racket.
Racketeers, of course, only get away with it if they have protection, and the honey racket goes up a long way. However, there are ghosts, too, in De Boinnevies' own family, including a daughter in the Salpetriere mental asylum. The assault that lead to her breakdown and certification is, the detectives discover, as yet unsolved.
Pollination services, bee stings for health, beeswax for candles, honey for sweetness, but honey too for face packs - a beekeeper would supply his products to all parts of society. Only German ladies who have followed the army could afford honey facepacks, and only then if their officer protectors were very understanding. They are the sort of ladies who may have secrets, but perhaps to mean that they kill the man who keeps them beautiful - they must be bad secrets.
BEEKEEPER is Janes' eleventh St-Cyr and Kohler novel and he has lost most of bizarre indirect narrative tricks, lack of verbs, and implicit statements that have made his earlier books so difficult to read. This world of murder of conspiracy and murder is byzantine - but Paris in January 1943, good God, it was bleak.
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