The main character, Henri Castang, is sort of a Hercule Poirot type; he is a former French police detective living in Belgium. He works behind a desk as a bureaucrat for European Community until he is asked to look into an unsolved kidnapping case. His search for answers takes him to Germany and the Czech Republic.
The author, Nicolas Freeling, uses a lot of great vocabulary words, although some rare ones are seen a bit too frequently to feel natural in my opinion. He has clearly traveled and lived abroad a great deal. His characters take the reader on a driving tour through Europe, describing the towns & landscapes along the way. His use of local colloquialisms and expressions made me feel like I was really in Europe.