The Crimes of Paris: A True Story of Murder, Theft, and Detectionby Dorothy Hoobler, Thomas Hoobler
Turn-of-the-century Paris was the beating heart of a rapidly changing world. But the City of Light was also a violent place. Criminals eagerly took advantage of the inventive nature of the age-the first getaway car, increasingly dangerous weapons, more creative disguises. The police battled back with a weapon of their own: Alphonse Bertillon, the world's
Turn-of-the-century Paris was the beating heart of a rapidly changing world. But the City of Light was also a violent place. Criminals eagerly took advantage of the inventive nature of the age-the first getaway car, increasingly dangerous weapons, more creative disguises. The police battled back with a weapon of their own: Alphonse Bertillon, the world's greatest detective, the inventor of the mug shot and the crime-scene photo, and a brilliant innovator who pioneered the new science of criminal investigation.
Then on August 21, 1911, came a crime like none other: Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre. It was assumed that Bertillon would quickly solve the mystery and retrieve the painting.
It would not be so simple.
In The Crimes of Paris, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler tell the gripping story of the theft and the investigation that followed. Bertillon and his associates would pursue clues leading them into the world of avant-garde artists, cheap apartments in Montmartre and Montparnasse, cabarets, and from this first great mystery into yet others. Their suspects would be everyone from the poet Guillaume Apollinaire to J. P. Morgan to Pablo Picasso.
A vivid tapestry of Paris, daring thieves, and relentless investigators, The Crimes of Paris is a heart-pounding true-crime thriller of the highest order, as well as a brilliant account of the modern detective.
-Cara Black, author of Murder in the Marais
"The theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911 brings on stage Vicdocq and Bertillon as scientific investigators, Apollinaire and Picasso as possible villains, as well as leading lights of the Belle Epoque in supporting roles as a worldwide investigation gets underway. It’s high adventure throughout. The notes and bibliography alone are worth the price of the book."—Peter Skinner, ForeWord
The 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa serves as the centerpiece for the Edgar Award-winning Hooblers' (In Darkness Death) unwieldy account of life and crime in belle époque Paris. But the Hooblers devote so much time to the history of detection, in both fiction and real life, that the prized painting's disappearance soon slips the reader's mind. The authors locate the French obsession with the painting's disappearance in a general fascination with crime, from the fictional thief Arsène Lupin, the hero of popular serials, to real 19th-century figures such as Vidocq, a former criminal turned investigator who inspired Poe-and Alphonse Bertillon, whose criminal identification system based on body measurements was a precursor to the science of biometrics. A lengthy look at the Parisian art scene is overly digressive, though Picasso and his pal Apollinaire's tenuous connection to the Mona Lisa theft provides one of the book's rare dramatic sections. When the painting is finally recovered in Florence in 1913, the reader is left as unsatisfied by the Hooblers' scattered history as by the Italian-born thief's dubious rationale for the theft. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Apr. 3)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
... A thorough and at times disturbing view of turn-of-the-century Paris, and its crimes and passions...Francophiles and true-crime lovers will find the book a fascinating read...a fulfilling read for those of us who like to stalk the wild side from a cozy armchair, perhaps with a side of pâté."Minneapolis Star-Tribune
- UNP - Bison Books
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Meet the Author
Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, a married couple, are the authors of The Monsters, a chronicle of the creation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Their novel, In Darkness, Death, won a 2005 Edgar Award. They live in New York City.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >