"Pure magic. The mystery turns on the convoluted history of an old master toy maker will makes his toys with such skill that they have lives of their own. It would be advisable to sit down while reading what the toys finally do." --Playboy At the fashionable salon of Ric Lazare you can have your fortune told by an amazing machine of unerring accuracy. But the Paris police think Lazare is a con man and send Inspector Picard to investigate. Inspector Picard prefers lemon tarts and prostitutes to high society; and he is unprepared for the string of murders that pulls him across the continent until he is tangled in the killer's last seductive knot. A landmark in the history of detective fiction, mystery is taken to the level of enchantment in this lyrical thriller set in the glitter of nineteenth century Paris. "Alternately dark and glittering...a first rate vaudeville turn, a comedic mask lightly stretched over enigmatic questions...a witty sendup of the detective story, an intriguing meditation on illusion and the conjurer's art, an antic fantasy done with a richness of invention that doffs a hat to Dickens... Inspector Picard's quest takes him across a vividly imagined Europe, a continent of the mind, peopled with wonderfully baroque characters. The illusion, in all its myriad forms abounds. Everywhere there are magical happenings...and everywhere, there is the magic wrought by Kotzwinkle himself." --The Chicago Tribune William Kotzwinkle books at E-Reads: DOCTOR RAT, FATA MORGANA, THE EXILE--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.