by Michael E. Lloyd
Book I: Self Above All
- Something in the Air —
A prison governor and a police inspector seem particularly interested in the recent behaviour of two of the inmates.
- Nice Little Earner — Six years earlier, the mysterious “Xérus” exploits his knowledge of the 1950s Marseilles underworld to recruit a leader for an intrepid bank robbery.
- Reconfiguration — Luc has trouble completing his team, but finally encourages young Arthur Narone to be their getaway driver. Arthur has enough problems already, but maybe this will help to solve them.
- A Good Job Spoiled — The motley gang begins the robbery exactly to plan, and then things start to go downhill fast.
- Slight Change of Plan — A stroke of bad luck stops the fleeing bank robbers in their tracks. Luc does some quick thinking, and Arthur has to take on another unwelcome responsibility.
- The Birds in the Trees — Bertrand spills the beans, Arthur finds himself in the soup, and Inspector Hardy has a plateful of suspects for the presumed insider.
- Taking Stock — Meanwhile, Luc licks his wounds as he ponders his bleak future, and Xérus tries to figure out what to do now.
- Back Down the Rabbit Holes — The police are seeking their fugitive suspects, Charles-Pierre is complaining about the hospital food, Luc has remembered that home is where the hope is, and Arthur is in limbo.
- Marking Time — Over the next few months, Luc has to be stoic about his situation, and Xérus digs in for the long haul too: the three minor villains will be in prison for a very long time.
- Five out of Ten but Improving — After five years in jail, Arthur is a new man, but he's still missing Emilie.
- A Helping Hand — Luc has finally recovered enough strength to consider contacting Arthur if the opportunity should arise in time. And Xérus is hoping to engineer exactly that.
- Turning the Key — Arthur learns the good news about his early release and is surprised to receive a truly charitable offer from the local prison padre.
- Stepping Out — As soon as Arthur is out of jail, a lot of people want to keep him in their sights.
Book II: Reparations
Foreword — Arthur Narone was determined to write a story about whatever happened to him after he left prison. And here, he tells us himself, it is. But it’s also clear that he was back in jail when he started to write it ...
- Watching the Detectives — So we revisit Arthur's first few hours of freedom from his point of view. Arthur’s new-found life of ease does not last long. Two of his old friends are determined to rally him back to their very individual causes.
- Balancing Act — Arthur’s time and attention are already torn between re-acclimatising, starting his search for Emilie, holding the Inspector at bay, and keeping Pureza satisfied with the story of his own childhood ... and Emilie’s.
Arthur is keeping Luc and Hardy at arms’ length, but learns he has yet another friend with an irrefusable offer. He must try to recover the hoard of cash now, but he keeps up his search for Emilie while Pureza pries into their past.
- Uncertain Recovery — Arthur retrieves his own wad of hot money, strings along his various puppeteers, and enjoys some very special birthday treats. Then he finally recovers the hoard of cash, but will keep that a secret and continue his searching games.
- Plus ça change ... — Arthur leaves town to change his image, and another spot of harmless fun relieves his dull sojourn. But once he’s back in Nice with a brand-new persona, he can get down to some real detective work — until the spirits of the Sixties come sirening him again.
- Discontent? What Discontent? — Arthur shapes up and tries to find a clue or two among the left-wing students and workers of Nice. But he eventually extracts a big hint from Xérus himself, and after the Carnival that will take him to Marseilles. Then the past comes back to haunt him again ...
- Are You Being Served? — Arthur milks his new job and a little errand for the Inspector for all they’re worth. He’s still making no real headway, but receives an imaginative suggestion which quickly bears fruit. Pureza is delighted, but she’s keen for him to work on making other amends.
- Irresistible Objects — Arthur tries harder to locate Thérèse, but finds someone a little different. At last he has a soul mate in whom he can confide — when pressed. As Julia learns more and more about the man, she has to keep weighing up the pros and cons of sticking with him.
- Summer of Love — Two more novelists give Arthur further food for thought, and he gleans a crumb of information through another new friend. He decides it’s time to call Luc’s bluff, and gets away with it. But he’s now rejecting Pureza’s help, while Julia’s moving up in the world. Arthur tries his bluffing gambit on Xérus and picks up a crucial clue which quickly bears fruit. After feeding Luc another holding line, he comes partially clean with a stunned Inspector Hardy, who can now plan a trap while Arthur and Julia take a little time out.
- A Better Rat Trap — Hardy has come up trumps and the plan to capture Luc is in place. Arthur then finds Xérus acting very differently on the phone. The trap works, but Arthur must stand by for his taskmasters. That gives him time to think harder about Xérus, while Julia endures.
Arthur’s birthday starts with a bang, but things get serious and Xérus is suddenly forcing his hand. Arthur feels he’s getting close to unmasking him, and then the clues pile up and he is certain. He must evacuate Julia and mount guard on his buried treasure ...
- Fair Exchange — Xérus’ next call changes everything. Arthur is suddenly on an urgent mission, with mixed results.
- Cooling Off — Simon and Arthur have a lot of explaining to do to each other, and Julia bravely fills in the rest of the awful details. Arthur now has plenty of time to write his novel.
Book III: Lost in Action
Foreword: Que sera, sera — Julia really did have a story inside her.
- Unfinished Business — Arthur is free again, and finds his closest friends very attentive. Should he embrace Pureza’s research and go hunting for Emilie in Paris? Julia encourages it, despite herself.
- Combing Through the Rubble — After an enforced delay, the search for Emilie begins.
- The Long Day Closes — Julia and Arthur criss-cross the unhappy city of Paris, following the clues as they steadily emerge, and finally establish what has become of Emilie. But what to do now?
- Love Hurts — Emilie’s journal paints a rather different picture of her time with Arthur. But Julia will continue to follow her own heart, so she and her man do what they must and then get out of Paris fast.
- Home Truths — Back in Nice, Arthur can pay his outstanding dues and look to the future.