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In a sleepy Provencal village, retired postman Emile Pencenat is busy digging his own grave when he spots an unstamped letter in the cemetery's disused postbox, addressed to a Madamoiselle Champourcieux. He dutifully posts the letter. When the body of this same Madamoiselle is later discovered - pinned to her piano with an ancient bayonet - Commissaire Laviolette is coaxed out of retirement to solve one of the most bizarre crimes imaginable.
Pierre Magnan was born in Manosque in 1922 and has rarely left his native Provence. In 1943, during the Occupation, he fought with the Resistance in the Isere, and in 1946 he published his first novel, L'Aube Insolite. During his lifetime he published over twenty novels, four of which have so far been translated into English. He died in May 2012, at the age of 89.