February 27, 2014

The Orphan's Tale by Diana Wilder

Title: The Orphan’s Tale
Trilogy: Book One (Malet’s Story)
Author: Diana Wilder
Genre: Historical
Sub Genres: Mystery, Romance
Publisher: Createspace


Autumn is beautiful in 1834 Paris. But to Chief Inspector Paul Malet, raised in a prison by the greatest master criminal in French history the season's splendor is overlaid by a sense of gathering danger: something is afoot.

When Malet learns that Victoria, England's young Heiress Apparent, will be traveling to Paris at Christmas for a state visit, all becomes clear. Her assassination on French soil would shatter the accord between France and England. And war can be a profitable business for those daring enough to mold events to suit their own purposes.

Malet, familiar with the workings of evil, embarks on a hunt. The safety of everything he loves is at stake, and he intends to fight this battle on ground of his own choosing.

Intentions are not necessarily accomplishments. The foes Malet is fighting are formidable. Adding to his problems is the fact that he has succeeded in angering an urchin named Larouche, who is determined to bring him down or, at least, ruin his hat.

And he has fallen in love.

It is proving to be a busy season.



The hero, Chief Inspector Malet, is preparing to pursue a master criminal.  His campaign will involve his taking rooms at an inn under an assumed name.  In this scene, he has met the proprietress of the inn, engaged a suite of rooms, and is heading back to Police headquarters, where he is filling in for the Prefect of Police for Paris.  He does not know that a little boy named Larouche, whom he  succeeded in offending the day before, is laying in wait for him with a rock in his hand…

Malet paused in the stableyard and looked around at the Rose d'Or as he pulled on his gloves. He nodded to himself.  The inn was a fine establishment, and the two owners certainly appeared to be ladies of character and quality.  He would enjoy his stay there.

He looked around at the neat, well-tended houses with flowerboxes at the windows. Very nice, indeed! His eyes moved from the faces of the passers-by to the beds of late roses along the street and the window-boxes of the inn.

He donned his hat and set off at a brisk walk, intending to head northwest, back toward the Prefecture.  He considered twirling his walking stick. It was a magnificent fall day, he was in his usual splendid health, they were closing in on that group of vicious killers and, best of all, he had miraculously been given another chance to nail Constant Dracquet.

He decided against it, finally. Cane-twirling was appropriate for the Champs Elysees, but not a street in middle-class Paris. Besides, it was not dignified–On the heels of that thought, like a defiant jeer, came a dark blur from the left, a blow, the sudden feel of wind in his hair, and the clatter of his hat against the pavement.

Someone had thrown a stone and knocked his hat off.

It took him a moment to understand what had happened. He stared at the hat, bent and picked it up, and stared at it again.

Someone had thrown a stone and knocked his hat off!

No one had ever done anything like that to him before! People had stopped and were laughing at him. It was worse than being shot at!

"Damnation!" he hissed, looking intently toward the left as he set the hat back on his head.

It was on the pavement again a moment later. This time the stone had come from the right.

He waited some minutes before replacing it. Nothing happened. He took a deep breath, released it, and started walking again. A second later the hat was on the ground again.

"Best give it up, Captain!" someone called as Malet retrieved the hat for the third time.

"You're right," Malet growled, and set off toward the Prefecture, feeling an unaccustomed itch between his shoulder-blades at the thought that the next stone might hit him on the back of the head. It was almost infuriating when no more came.

After another block he hailed a cab and gave directions to the Prefecture. Once inside, he replaced his hat.
**   **   **

Larouche watched him, grinning, and then turned away toward the Rose d'Or. They gave generous hand-outs there, as he recalled.


Diana Wilder grew up all over the United States courtesy of the United States Navy (which stationed her father in landlocked New Mexico!).  This gave her quite an opportunity to watch people and weave stories about them.  She has been telling stories as long as she can remember, and writing them down since she was fourteen years old.  She still likes to watch people.  When she isn't busy with her storytelling, she enjoys riding horses, especially now that she is able to stay in the saddle, clerking at cat shows, traveling and trying to knit.


Also by Diana Wilder:
(Coming out just under a year)


Autumn and winter are seasons for looking back to the past and forward to the future.  For Malet, the shadows of the past have parted to reveal the truth of the present.  But while the present holds the promise of happiness, it also holds a threat as revolutionaries target the police.

Winter's onset holds no fears for Larouche, who has found a safe, comfortable place to pass the cold months.  Now he can think about meeting Monseigneur again and, who knows? perhaps become his friend?  One can dream.

Malet slips disastrously for the first time in his career and is sent into exile - or is it?

Wait and see.

(Will come out after Book Two)


Paul Malet, recalled from the provinces, is now serving as Deputy Prefect of Police.  Winter and spring have passed, summer brings the threat of unrest.  The southern districts of Paris are alive with whispers and the rattle of weapons.

Larouche listens to the whispers as they become rumbles of defiance.

The storm is about to break.

QUESTION: What do you think of Diana's Historical Fiction trilogy?

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