Although he is not unkind, Roland de Lautremont is by nature aloof and distant. Certainly his history is complicated. An only child, he was deserted by his mother when he was a babe.


There's a little sketch he made of the chateau years ago, when he was just a boy. He keeps it on the mantlepiece of his reading room in the old tower. It's a tranquil, bucolic scene until one considers the harpy in the trees.

With the arrival of Lenore D'Antan, however it seemed the harpy had been replaced by an angel. In the year she lived at the chateau, she had seemingly wrought a miracle, and turned a disheveled, mumbling recluse into an affable, well nearly affable, bon vivant. It seemed as if she had taught Monsieur de Lautremont how to smile.


Then she had picked up and vanished. And so had Monsieur's smiles.



Now, suddenly, Lenore had announced her presence in faraway India. To judge by the card she had enclosed in the envelope, Tikamgarh Valley was a scenic, if remote location. Why she had traveled there it was now up to me to discover . . . .

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