"Palace of Justice: An Aristide Ravel Mystery
"Susanne Alleyn, Minotaur, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-37394-8
At the height of the Reign of Terror in 1793, an unknown killer is emulating the work of the guillotine by leaving beheaded corpses all over Paris in Alleyn's superior fourth Aristide Ravel mystery (after 2009's The Cavalier of the Apocalypse). Given the tight control of the republican government, the police don't realize that the deaths are part of a series, but eventually former justice minister Georges Danton asks Ravel to solve the case. With delicate peace negotiations with the English under way, Danton fears that word of the atrocities will jeopardize them. The pressure to catch the killer only increases as the roster of victims expands to include a member of the government. Alleyn brilliantly captures the paranoid spirit of the times, and inserts enough twists to keep most readers guessing. This entry approaches the quality of the historical fiction of such authors as Steven Saylor and Laura Joh Rowland. (Dec.)"