Chapter no 135 – Big Claude‌

All the Light We Cannot See

Levitte the perfumer is flabby and plump, basted in his own self-importance. While he talks, von Rumpel struggles to keep his balance; the intermingling of so many odors in this shop overwhelms. In the course of the past week, he has had to make a show of trips to a dozen different garden estates up and down the Breton coast, forcing his way into summer homes to hunt down paintings and sculptures that either do not exist or do not interest him. All of it to justify his presence here.

Yes, yes, the perfumer is saying, his gaze flitting over von Rumpel’s insignia, a few years ago he helped authorities apprehend an out-of-towner who was taking measurements of buildings. He only did what he knew was right.

“Where was he living during those months, this Monsieur LeBlanc?”

The perfumer squints, calculating. His blue-ringed eyes trumpet one message: I want. Give me. All these aching creatures, thinks von Rumpel, toiling under different pressures. But von Rumpel is the predator here. He needs only to be patient. Indefatigable. Remove the obstacles one by one.

When he turns to go, the perfumer’s complacency splinters. “Wait, wait, wait.”

Von Rumpel keeps one hand on the door. “Where did Monsieur LeBlanc live?”

“With his uncle. Useless man. Off his nut, as they say.” “Where?”

“Right there,.” He points. “Number four.”

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