City of Light, City of Poison

 

City of Light, City of Poison/By Holly Tucker

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Reviewed by KV Marin

17th century Paris was a far cry from the city we know today.   It was a dark and dirty place with poor hygiene and squalid living conditions. Thieves and scoundrels were on every corner ready to rob you or con you in one way or another, and scheming relatives were out to kill you in what is infamously known as the Affair of the Poisons.   In City of Light, City of Poison, Holly Tucker brings us into the heart of the scandal, deception, murder, and intrigue that plagued Louis XIV's court.

Into this unruly mess comes Nicholas de la Réynie, first chief of police appointed by the Sun King. This visionary man created a city wide police force, he established the principles of detective work and he ordered the installation of lanterns to light the streets at night, thus explaining why Paris is called the city of Light.  While making the city safer and cleaner he became troubled by a growing number of deaths attributed to poison.  Follow him as he unveils à complicated web of black magic that involved everyone from pretty criminals to the nobility....possibly even the king's mistress. 

Tucker has done a phenomenal job of wading through official transcripts, court documents, confessions and more to tell this amazing story.  The book is non-fiction but it reads like a historical thriller that keeps you turning the pages until you get to the end.

Buy the book

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