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The musketeer’s seamstress

Sarah D’Almeida

332 pages
Berkley Publishing Group - 2007 - États-Unis
Policier - Roman

Intérêt: **

 

 

Ce roman est le deuxième de la série d’histoires policières imaginées par l’écrivain Sarah Hoyt. Il fait suite à Death of a musketeer et précède The musketeer’s apprentice, A death in Gascony et Dying by the sword.

Le principe de base consiste à imaginer des polars dont les quatre héros de Dumas sont les personnages principaux. Celui-ci se situe quelques semaines après le premier volume, et donc très peu de temps après la rencontre de d’Artagnan et des trois mousquetaires.

L’histoire commence par un meurtre des plus mystérieux: l’assassinat de  la maîtresse d’Aramis, la duchesse de Dreux, dans une chambre fermée de l’intérieur et inaccessible. Détail gênant pour le mousquetaire: à l’instant du meurtre, il était dans le cabinet de toilette attenant, et il apparaît donc comme le seul coupable possible.

Pour éviter l’arrestation, Aramis s’enfuie en province, dans les terres familiales. Pendant ce temps, ses trois amis, demeurés à Paris, et qui sont les seuls à ne pas le croire coupable, enquêtent sur ce meurtre incompréhensible.

Athos et d’Artagnan veulent élucider le mystère en identifiant la personne qui pourrait vouloir la mort de la duchesse – ou la perte d’Aramis, compromis par ce meurtre. Cela amène Athos à se rendre chez le mari de la victime, le duc de Dreux, son meilleur ami d’enfance. Les deux hommes cherchent également dans la direction de Richelieu, toujours suspect de vouloir perdre les mousquetaires.

Porthos choisit une voie différente: constatant l’impossibilité apparente du meurtre, il se concentre sur la résolution du «comment», estimant que quand on saura comment le crime a été commis, on saura forcément qui en est l’auteur.

Cette approche l’amène à enquêter aussi bien auprès des domestiques du palais royal, susceptibles de savoir bien des choses et de connaître les passages dérobés du bâtiment, que des acrobates qui se produisent dans les rues de Paris. C’est la méthode Porthos qui permettra finalement l’identification du coupable.

Aramis, pendant ce temps, se trouve amené à plonger dans son histoire familiale et à faire des découvertes bien inattendues sur le passé de sa dévote mère…

A l’issue de ces enquêtes respectives, l’auteur du crime sera discrètement identifié et mis à l’écart, tandis qu’Aramis saura contraindre Richelieu à l’innocenter.

 

Ce volume présente les mêmes qualités et défauts que le précédent. Au chapitre des défauts figure la faiblesse de l’intrigue policière. Dans la longue série des mystères de meurtres dans une chambre close, The muketeer’s seamstress ne laissera pas une trace inoubliable…

Au chapitre des qualités, en revanche, figure la façon dont l’auteur s’emploie à mettre en scène les mousquetaires, à les faire vivre, à enrichir leur passé. L’évocation de la jeunesse d’Athos, par exemple, est intéressante. Mais c’est Aramis qui, de ce point de vue, tient la vedette.

Le portrait de sa mère – pieuse, rigide, autoritaire – du château familial, de l’entourage, est très réussi, et ce d’autant plus qu’il donne des clés pour la compréhension du personnage et sa double vocation militaire et ecclésiastique.

On notera également que, dans la lignée du premier roman, l’auteur poursuit sa réhabilitation des facultés intellectuelles de Porthos: si celui-ci n’a pas une intelligence abstraite, il a une approche terre-à-terre des choses qui lui permet de réussir là où ses amis plus brillants échouent…

Ecrit de façon vivante et amusante, le roman est d’une lecture très agréable.

L'auteur a également écrit une histoire de vampires tournant autour des mousquetaires, Sword and blood.


 Voir l'arbre généalogique d'Aramis

 

Extrait du chapitre Where Strength Is Tested; The Sad Lot of the Musketeer’s Servant; The Inevitability of Drunken Musketeers

Porthos rounded on Aramis. He knew there had been some great harm done. Not that he quite understood it. From what he had heard of the servants' talk, a woman had been killed.

Porthos had known Aramis for many years — since the young man, then barely more than a child, had arrived at Porthos's thriving fencing school and asked to be taught — within a month or less — all there was to know about the art of sword fighting. Though Aramis had learned well enough and fought the duel, too, Porthos had never thought Aramis could kill a woman. In fact he'd never seen Aramis quite angry enough to even be rude to a woman.

As Porthos had observed of his young friend's life, Aramis had no need at all to attack women. Women fell over themselves to please Aramis and never seemed to even exhibit much jealousy over his other sincere worshippers.

Confused and shocked at seeing his friend collapse forward, Porthos put out a huge hand upon Aramis's shoulder. "Aramis," he said.

But Aramis only made a sound, not quite a word. He'd been kneeling and sitting on his ankles, and upon collapsing, he'd collapsed forward, folding on himself. Porthos grasped his shoulder and pulled him upright by force of strength and determination. "Aramis, are you wounded? And who have you killed? And why?"

Aramis looked at Porthos, but his green eyes normally inclined to mirth and intent with observation looked unfocused. It was, Porthos thought, as though Aramis were very drunk or had suffered a blow to the head, as his eyes would not focus. "I didn't—" he said. "Violette." And then he slumped forward again, in silence.

Porthos noticed that D'Artagnan and Athos traded a look. Athos nodded, as though some conversation had passed between them. Porthos hated it when his friends did that, communicating without saying the words openly. It smacked, it seemed to him, of treachery and slyness.

"We'll get no sense out of him," D'Artagnan said. Then he lowered his voice. "And, besides, it is quite likely anything he might say could sound incriminating. We should get him away to his lodgings as soon as it may be."

Porthos nodded. "I'll take him," he said.

"Porthos," Athos said. "You cannot. You are on guard duty."

Porthos shrugged. "If anyone should check, tell them I am walking around, because I heard a suspicious sound. On a night such as this, no one will find it amiss."

"But—" Athos said.

Porthos reached down and clasped his hands just under Aramis's arms, hauling him up. The younger musketeer looked at him with nothing beyond mild surprise. "Can either of you hold him up, should he not find his feet?"

Both his friends shook their heads. Porthos nodded, as if his question had been perfectly answered. He was a simple man and unused to matters of philosophy and theology. When his friends discussed such issues and used words that seemed to Porthos much too long to have any real meaning, Porthos either got bored or amused himself with his own thoughts.

A tall, strong man, he's always been interested in the outdoors and physical sports. In fencing and riding and hunting. He thought with his hands as much as with his brain. This left him enough mind only to attempt to do what needed to be done and what needed to be done at that moment. It made him more practical and focused than any of his comrades and, in that, often the savior of them all.

And at this moment what needed to be done was getting Aramis back to his quarters with a minimum of notice. This — to Porthos — seemed to be most easily done by his supporting and half carrying Aramis.

 


 

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