Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Release: The Crimes of Paris

I've been having problems getting started on my review of Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler's The Crimes of Paris: A True Story of Murder, Theft, and Detection. It's not because I didn't enjoy the book -- the opposite is true. I think that I'm having trouble writing this review because this book is just so chock full of information that I have no idea where to begin! This was a very interesting book full of fascinating anecdotes and stories about crime and crime detection in turn-of-the-century Paris.

Just a few of the fun topics that this book explores are:

--Crime writing ... who wrote about crime, who wrote about criminals and who created the first detective novel.
--Crime detection ... Bertillonage, Vidocq, detecting poisons and the advent of fingerprinting.
--Crime ... anarchists, the first getaway car and the theft of the Mona Lisa.
--Art ... Picasso and his contemporaries try to change the way they express their world views.

How these authors possibly fit this much information into a 300 page book is beyond me but I feel like I have gained incredible amounts of trivial information and some overall impressions of late 19th and early 20th century Paris. This book also tied perfectly into some of my recent reading: The Black Tower, a historical fiction featuring the police detective Vidocq, The Dark Lantern, with part of the plot turning on Bertillonage, and Murder on the Eiffel Tower, where we visit the 1889 World Expo in Paris.

This was an impressive book and I would love to check out some of the other fiction and non-fiction that this couple have written together.

Fascinated by the birth of detection,

Buy The Crimes of Paris: A True Story of Murder, Theft, and Detection on Amazon or find it at your local library.


  1. I always have a hard time writing about nonfiction books like this as there is simply too much to talk about. Usually I break the book up into a couple of posts. I have this one to read also, and hope it's as good as their ealier book on Mary Shelley! It sounds liek it is thought.

  2. I definitely want to read the Mary Shelley one. I love Frankenstein!