"An artful reconstruction of seventeenth-century Paris with riveting storytelling." —The New Yorker
In the late 1600s, Louis XIV assigns Nicolas de la Reynie to bring order to Paris after the brutal deaths of two magistrates. Reynie, pragmatic and fearless, discovers a network of witches, poisoners, and priests whose reach extends all the way to the king’s court at Versailles. Based on court transcripts and Reynie’s compulsive note-taking, Holly Tucker’s engrossing true-crime narrative makes the characters breathe on the page as she follows the police chief into the dark labyrinths of crime-ridden Paris, the halls of royal palaces, secret courtrooms, and torture chambers.
Holly Tucker is the author of City of Light, City of Poison and Blood Work, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, and is a professor of French at Vanderbilt University. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and Aix-en-Provence, France.
Table of Contents
Author's Note xv
A Note on Currency xvii
Burn Notice xix
Part I "Day and Night They Kill Here"
1 Crime Capital of the "World 3
2 City of Light 15
3 The Street at the End of the World 26
4 To Market 35
Part II King of Hearts
5 Agitation without Disorder 43
6 The Dew and the Torrent 50
7 The Door Marked 1 55
8 "He Will … Strangle Me" 61
Part III "She Will Turn Us All into Poisoners"
9 The Golden Viper 69
10 "Madame Is Dying, Madame Is Dead!" 73
11 Poison in the Pie 77
12 An Alchemist's Last Words 80
13 The Faithful Servant 84
14 "Brinvilliers Is in the Air" 90
Part IV "Cease Your Scandals"
15 House of Porcelain 103
16 Offering 111
17 "The Sneakiest and Meanest Woman in the World" 114
City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris 4 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Three and a half stars. Impressive research went into this account of the Affair of the Poisons during the reign of Louis XIV. The narrative is entertaining, as well as shocking and gruesome in spots. The descriptions of torture got a bit tedious though. I highly recommend reading the sample before purchase. I ended up borrowing it from the library.
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