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“Not since Nero Wolfe has such a fragrant combination of orchid lore and suspense found its way into a mystery novel,” Booklist trumpeted upon the publication of Michelle Wan’s Deadly Slipper. In THE ORCHID SHROUD, Wan weaves another tale abounding in mystery and orchids as interior decorator Mara Dunn and orchidologist Julian Wood team up to solve two murders: one dating back to the 1850s; the other occurring almost right before their eyes.
Mara is restoring the grand home of Julian’s employer, the wealthy and socially prominent Christophe de Bonnefon, when she discovers the body of a murdered infant. Adding to the mystery, the body, concealed for more than a century, is wrapped in a shawl embroidered with an extraordinarily accurate depiction of the elusive Lady Slipper orchid. Christophe hires genealogist Jean-Paul Fournier in hopes of exonerating his ancestors, only to have the expert find evidence that infanticide may well be part of the de Bonnefon family history. When Fournier turns up dead, Mara and Julian begin an investigation of their own, one that leads back to the collapse of the Second Empire and into the intricacies of the Napoleonic laws of inheritance. As they unearth a past filled with hatred, greed, and murderous rivalries, they must also unmask a present-day murderer—before they become the next victims.