A frigid winter dawn reveals a sight Paris hasn’t seen for over two centuries – the menacing profile of a guillotine in the very heart of the city. A publicity stunt devised to catapult a young artist to instant fame, it works better than anyone had expected. For the guillotine is a perfect replica of the machine that claimed so many lives under the Revolution. So perfect, it comes complete with a headless corpse.

The victim was ushered to his death by an unrecognisable figure whose work is not done. In his pursuit of this grim executioner, Franck Guerin of the Brigade Criminelle has to navigate two parallel worlds – a group of artists squatting in an abandoned property, low on money but high on ideas, and a network of wealthy collectors and scheming dealers ready to snap up anything they produce.

They all claim to believe that art is more important than life. Which means the killer, methodically assembling a macabre masterpiece, could be any one of them.

Sharp-Edged : a contemporary crime novel set in Paris.