Mycroft is dead. How, asks his brother Sherlock Holmes? “The best, I think, is that he explains it to you himself, I’ll take you there”, we answer him. No fuss, no prolegomena. The first sentences of this novel are like a toboggan: an assured slide towards the investigation which begins, the low and brilliant blows to which the secret services of their British, Prussian and Russian majesties are engaged. Here we are, plunged into the great game between European nations. For the time being, it is about Fachoda, this moment of change of imperialism and alliances. From London to Paris, from Istanbul to Venice, the English aristocrats at the maneuver against their first cousins deliver to us in turn their pieces of a vast puzzle in which Proust, among other surprises, sticks a head. But that is not the point. The action provides a pleasant pretext for an impressionist stroll through this Belle Époque which shines with a thousand lights, condemned to be consumed by ubris. At the time of the novel, it is only a question of pleasure, including that of the reader. S. G.