City of Light, City of Poison

City of Light, City of Poison

Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris

Book - 2017
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Appointed to conquer the "crime capital of the world," the first police chief of Paris faces an epidemic of murder in the late 1600s. Assigned by Louis XIV, Nicolas de La Reynie begins by clearing the streets of filth and installing lanterns throughout Paris, turning it into the City of Light.The fearless La Reynie pursues criminals through the labyrinthine neighborhoods of the city. He unearths a tightly knit cabal of poisoners, witches, and renegade priests. As he exposes their unholy work, he soon learns that no one is safe from black magic--not even the Sun King. In a world where a royal glance can turn success into disgrace, the distance between the quietly back-stabbing world of the king's court and the criminal underground proves disturbingly short. Nobles settle scores by employing witches to craft poisons and by hiring priests to perform dark rituals in Paris's most illustrious churches and cathedrals.As La Reynie continues his investigations, he is haunted by a single question: Could Louis's mistresses could be involved in such nefarious plots? The pragmatic and principled La Reynie must decide just how far he will go to protect his king.From secret courtrooms to torture chambers, City of Light, City of Poison is a gripping true-crime tale of deception and murder. Based on thousands of pages of court transcripts and La Reynie's compulsive note-taking, as well as on letters and diaries, Tucker's riveting narrative makes the fascinating, real-life characters breathe on the page.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780393239782
0393239780
Characteristics: xxiii, 310 pages, 16 pages of unnumbered plates : illustrations, map ; 25 cm
Call Number: 363.2092 TUC

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Activevoice
Sep 10, 2017

This book is not for the faint of heart. The routine torture endured by the victims of the French Justice system after they were found guilty made me ill. Tucker spends a great deal of time detailing this procedure and, I found, has very little sympathy for the women (mostly) trapped in this sexist, hysterically paranoid, society of Louis 14th. I rather think of the poisoners as victims of brutal, tyrannical, and mostly old husbands; their suppliers of poison as ignorant, poor, and powerless; all destined to die at the hands of a corrupt and cruel church and state. However, if anyone has a lingering desire to be part of a grand court this is the cure.

b
brangwinn
Aug 06, 2017

The author spends much time in setting the decadent French scene in the late 1600’s as she deftly tells the story of the first police chief in scandal filled Paris. If nothing else, one comes away from the book with the understanding that it takes great writing skill to make historical research so readable.

AL_SUMMER May 23, 2017

Tucker offers a detailed account of the darker side of Paris in the late 1600s pulled from the notes of Nicolas de La Reynie. Some chapters focus on court intrigue rather than crime in order to demonstrate the reach of the poison trade.

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