Orgasme…Made in France
The extraordinary success of Orgasme perfume by Jean-Pierre Armand, the world’s leading fashion designer, attracts the attention of Joe Regalia, a small time player in the import-export business. Joe obtains financial backing from his boyhood friends, Tony Marino, head of the largest crime family in New York, and Sam Risen, an attorney and Tony’s silent partner, to import and distribute Orgasme through the gray market while laundering the Organization’s illicit income.
Motivated by greed and envy, and unbeknownst to his partners, Joe decides to also sell counterfeit Orgasme, bringing on unwanted attention. Concerned about the potential impact on the money laundering operation, Sam decides to silence Bryan Thomas, President of Aberdeen, Ltd., Orgasme’s manufacturer, leading the fight against the gray market and counterfeiting.
Meanwhile, seething with life-long resentment, believing he is the real genius behind Jean-Pierre’s success, Philippe Chaudée, his lover and cunning, driven business manager, is secretly planning to establish a new fashion house under his own name to sponsor young aspiring designers—with or without Jean-Pierre’s concurrence.
Paris, New York, Washington, and Zurich provide the principal backdrops for this complex unfolding drama in which murder is the fashion of choice by those driven to let no one stand in their way.
Noted Italian fashion designer Giorgio Donati is gunned down in front of his Greenwich Village town house in a professional style hit amid rumors of the designer’s connection to the Mafia. New York City Detective Frank Egan, assigned to investigate the murder, quickly identifies several individuals with strong motives to see the designer dead: his sister, Francesca, and several trusted employees of Donati’s company. Only the designer’s brother, Fabio, appears above suspicion. Working outside formal boundaries with Greg Harris, an FBI agent noted for his break-up of the Gianelli Family’s criminal empire years earlier, Frank learns of a Mafia connection in the initial financing of the Donati business, which might still exist. It is only after the discovery of similar style murders in Los Angeles and another in New York that the puzzle becomes clearer. As the drama unfolds against the background of the fashion business, the intrigues of its participants, and the Mafia’s use of this industry to launder its ill-gotten gains, evidence of guilt becomes apparent. But as the exciting conclusion demonstrates, appearances can be deceiving.
A real life, nineteenth century priest discovers a shocking ancient document, and hides it in a cave in the south of France; a century later, a vacationing couple stumbles upon it. These separate, tantalizing stories intersect and intertwine, blurring the boundary between historical fact and contemporary fiction.
Although Father François Bérenger Saunière’s life is well documented, how he managed to accumulate his enormous wealth has remained a mystery. He arrives in the medieval mountaintop village of Rennes-le-Château in 1885 without a sou, but with a twinkle in his eyes and lofty ideas. After a passionate affair with a Parisian soprano, and at odds with the Church hierarchy, he vows to be faithful only to his flock and his conscience. In the process of amassing his fortune and building his extraordinary estate, he unearths an urn containing an ancient papyrus with a startling revelation. Telling no one but his companion Marie, he brings a small parchment found with the papyrus to his old friend Father Antoine Gélis for translation. When the elderly priest is brutally bludgeoned to death and the parchment disappears, Saunière feels compelled to hide his discovery in a nearby cave.
Dr. David Rettig, an easy-going, Shakespeare-quoting American archaeologist with the soul of a poet, pursues Dr. Giselle Gélis, a reserved, insecure French biblical historian, to a conference in Amsterdam. Though initially reluctant, she succumbs to his charm, and ultimately reaches the fanciful conclusion that Marie Madeleine, her unjustly maligned heroine, has orchestrated the match. David is less than convinced, but sees no reason to dissuade her. Their relationship deepens as they travel through the south of France, visiting Rennes-le-Château and meeting with another descendant of the murdered Father Gélis. Giselle begins to rely on David’s understanding, non-confrontational nature, but once they find the hidden urn, circumstances they never could have predicted challenge their bond, their safety, and everything they believe.