For his time, 1730, Etienne is a devil out to entice people into hell. He has corrupted his landlord-billet’s wife and, possibly, the teen age daughter. He has behaved immorally with his soldier, companion, canoe partner, Jacques Liser. After forcing his captive native warrior to view his sexual use of the latter’s squaw, he kills them.
When his body is found, tied to the base of a tree with a portion of a rope hanging from a limb above his head, the priest decides it was a suicide, and, refuses to bury him with Catholic rites in the Catholic cemetery. Ville Marie’s citizens disagree. They believe there is a murderer loose for Etienne has a bullet hole in the middle of his forehead and a knife stabbed between his shoulders, and another in his chest. His scalp is half removed.
A legal system is almost nonexistent in New France The ruling council becomes prosecutor and judge and would have to engage itself in an unaccustomed procedure. Accepting the Priests’ decision would simplify their lives. However, suicide does not placate the population. An investigator, Pougé Montbeton, is appointed. He is known as a grinder of detail after detail. He may, they hope, dissipate the citizen’s penchant to determine who murdered Etienne Bastarache. His investigation reveals the motives of several citizens.
But, the earthquake of 1732 intervenes, the evidence is lost. Who murdered Etienne Bastarache.
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