This is the story of two women. One of those women is Lady Sheringham, interviewed in her manor house, the other is Emma Piggott, who has just passed away in her London apartment, alone.
To the former, life has been kind. She's gone from Shanghai to Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpar, from governess to sultana. She lives in the lap of luxury, engaged in an endless cycle of drinks parties, outings on horseback and the delicious little scandals of the British colonial community. This is a woman destined never to know hardship, other than the loss of loved ones.
Emma Piggott, a teacher at St. John's, has lived a gray and stagnant life, experiencing Asia only through newspaper articles that she carefully cuts out collects, but never leaving the Whitechapel neighborhood where her parents kept a grocery store.
And yet, something unites these two women--a little detail, nothing at all really, mere chance, or perhaps just a nightmare that troubles Lady Sheringham's sleep from time to time...
Prolific comic book author Pierre Christin, who penned the game-changing classic sci-fi series "Valerian and Laureline," switches to autobiography here to bring us the thoughtful, enlightening tale of two vastly different lands, the American West during the civil rights movement and the counter-culture phenomenon, and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War, as seen through the eyes of an inquisitive French artist and journalist with a love for travel, intellectual query, gypsies, and jazz. Christin and his faithful road companion and "Valerian" co-creator Jean-Claude Mézières drive across landscapes ranging from Utah to Bulgaria in a series of cars each more dilapidated than the next, encountering people and adventures of all kinds in a story that is part travel journal, part geo-political documentary, and part artistic coming-of-age.
Who is Lena? What is she up to? Does she even know her mission? Setting out from an East Berlin neighborhood that is home to former dignitaries, she goes about passing out small, innocent-seeming gifts from Budapest to Transylvania to Kiev. She crosses the Danube delta, the Black Sea, Anatolia, and the Aleppo bazaar. Each time, she crosses borders incognito, claiming to have nothing to declare. A journey at once timeless and inextricable from the great issues of our age, "Lena" combines the intimacy dear to André Juillard and Pierre Christin's predilection for vast geopolitical canvases.
Ever calm, classy, and resourceful, Edith Hardy is on the case again. When pharmaceutical magnate Le Cauchois asks her to wangle an invitation to the Red Baroness's exclusive gatherings of Soviet sympathizers, Edith isn't sure she should say yes-until an invitation falls right in her lap. Next thing, she's off to the Baroness's château in the snowy Ardennes, where she runs smack dab into a triangle of intrigue. Le Cauchois is working for French intelligence, the Baroness with the Russians, and a handsome acquaintance for the CIA-a convenient fellow to have around when a lady lands herself in hot water!
A meeting of elite diplomats. A snowy resort in an undisclosed location. A secure communications room staffed by private security. Lena's latest adventure finds her ostensibly heading a small hospitality staff that caters to the needs of VIPs attending a top-secret summit. What better way to suss out secrets than by blending into the woodwork? In this locked-room atmosphere, egos clash and history outs its old grudges. For the issue at stake is none other than the fate of the Middle East, again to be divided by meddling powers. And these days of routine, ennui, luxury, and leisure may hide a more insidious threat...
Unsolved cases come home to roost in Edith Hardy's latest caper, rounding off the first trilogy of the detective's adventures. When secret services in France and America start pulling strings-not to mention the machinations of a certain pharmaceutical industrialist-Edith winds up behind the Iron Curtain, in Moscow! But is she there to recover the legacy of state painter Alexis Limonovich... or save naive young chemist Antoine Dubreuil from being manipulated? Meanwhile, just what skullduggery is Edith's enterprising assistant Victor up to with an art forger, a carnival performer, his bear, and a midnight break-in? One thing's for sure: it all adds up to classy intrigue!
Lena thought she'd paid her dues to the French secret service. She'd gone undercover as their courier in order to avenge her son and husband, both killed in a terrorist attack. And now she has a new life in Australia. A new family. So why does she still feel so hollow inside? Lena finds herself reluctantly drawn back into the world of international espionage, this time as a tutor to Islamist suicide bombers at a remote training camp in the Georgian desert. Three girls, in each of whom she sees something of herself. But will it be enough to bring her to save them?
Edith Hardy runs a small detective agency off an unassuming alley in the 13th arrondissement. It's the 1950s, and foreign forces are busy vying for power in a Paris still recovering from World War II. Edith has a good heart and a missing husband, and her attempts to do right by her small world get her caught up in far larger, darker affairs. A classic Pierre Christin script-a strong sense of place and history, humane leftist sympathies-combines with Annie Goetzinger's indelible artwork to deliver a stylish mystery for fans of classy whodunits.