Roman Rops is writing a book for a British publisher about the St-Vitus Cathedral in Prague and that is why he is often to be found on the hill, towering above the city, with the St-Vitus Cathedral. The story itself starts at the point when the police are taking him in for questioning, because during the preceding night he received an anonymous note that was shoved under his door, urging him to go up the hill to the cathedral. When he is inside the cathedral he finds in one of the side-altars a reliquary with a well preserved relic inside – a chopped-off hand – a young female detective appears, who introduces herself as Klára Brochová, and arrests him. The hand turn out to belong to the priest Josef Kalandra who has been murdered in this cruel way by bleeding to death. His body has been buried head down in the foundations of the cathedral. With that event the tone is set for the criminal plot of this book. More mysterious and extreme cruel murders are following, but in the end the perpetrator is discovered and his motives are made clear. Parallel to this story is the story developing of Rops and Brochová. The young policewoman is very much intrigued by this mysterious man who always seems to dress in black, because her background differs so much from his. She is a foundling, raised in children’s homes and ended up working at the police after a period of living on the edge of society. Rops caries a secret with him and this secret and the unravelling of it plays in fact a larger role in the book than solving the murders.
Selected published translations (4)
La sombra de la catedral Spanish
Im Dunkel der Kathedrale German