In chapter one, Dr. Juvenal Urbino is summoned to determine the cause of death for his friend Jeremiah de Saint Amor:
The Antillean refugee Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, disabled war veteran, photographer of children, and his most sympathetic opponent in chess, had escaped the torments of memory with the aromatic fumes of gold cyanide.
Because of the smell in the room, the doctor decides not to perform an autopsy. It is easy to see that the man killed himself. The other two men present for the autopsy are soon convinced, and the doctor signs the death certificate. He then realizes that this is one of the first suicides that he has witnessed that is not prompted by love:
And only after . . . did he realize that among the countless suicides he could remember, this was the first with cyanide that had not been caused by the sufferings of love.
The inspector then finds an...
(The entire section contains 470 words.)