After an exhausting trip across the English Channel and a late evening ride on the Calais Coach across the French countryside, the Investigators arrived in Paris and could relax at the luxurious Hotel Bristol.
They slept well, except for Miss Crispin having a dream of a medieval prince hunting a man across an abstracted countryside — the man appearing to be the long lost Albert Alexis.
Over breakfast next actions are discussed. A telegram from Violet arrived saying that Prof. Smith was doing well, and that any messages should be relayed through her. Dr. Wilke grumbled some suspicions about where they should really be trusting Smith.
Dr. Wilke’s contact at the Bibliothèque Nationale, clerk and student Remi Vangeim, was dismayed that they had come in search of the the Devil’s Simulare. It seems that the valuable book had just been stolen by one of the library’s directors, Prof.Brice Clavet. The police believed he took it to pay from drug debts to criminals from the East — but they must not have been pleased by the deal, since Clavet’s body was found, skinned, at his apartment.
While Umar stayed behind to see what information he can find about the missing book, the others checked out Prof. Clavet’s former apartment. It has been cleaned and repainted since the crime, but Miss Crispin arranged to rent it for a month, so that a seance can be performed. She and Dr. Wilke summoned up what claims to be the dead man’s spirit. It wailed for help, saying that is trapped between this world and the next. It explained that it witnessed its own ritual murder and flaying, confirming that the Devil’s Simulare was in fact taken by an agent of Makryat wearing Clavet’s flesh. Miss Crispin failed in an attempt to spend the spirit into the Light, leaving in lost and at the mercy of a hungry force that was stalking it.
A telegram from Prof.Smith pointed the Investigators to look into the history of the Comte Fenalik, a pre-Revolutionary noble whom Smith believes was the last owner of the intact Simulacrum. While he was erased from official records, a few period diaries recounted the mansion of debauchery he had founded before being arrested and thrown into the Charenton Asylum to be forgotten.
Umar went to check out the Asylum — which had recently appointed a new director after the previous one died in an accident. He found that while there was an account of Fenalik being admitted, there was no further mention of him in their records. Looking into the fate of the director, Umar discovered he had died while performing experimental electrical therapy on an unknown patient. According to the testimony of a madman, this patient had been found as a desiccated corpse in the Asylum basement. Umar’s concluded that Fenalik still lived — and was on the loose.