Death at the Paris Exposition

Death at the Paris Exposition

by Frances Mcnamara


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780996755832
Publisher: Allium Pr of Chicago
Publication date: 09/01/2016
Pages: 278
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.63(d)

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Death at the Paris Exposition 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
MariaD1 More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable 6th Installment in Historical Mystery Series I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. High society, a Paris setting and murder take center stage in Frances McNamara’s Death at the Paris Exposition, the sixth book in her Emily Cabot Mystery series. Taking place during the Paris Exposition of 1900, Ms. McNamara’s book is filled with colorful descriptions of haute couture at the turn of the 20th century, the historical and beautiful sights of Paris and a well-developed central character. If you like historical mysteries and reading about high fashion, this is a book you will most certainly enjoy. Ms. McNamara does a good job introducing her primary character, Emily Cabot, and the story’s setting right from the start. We learn about how Emily, and her family, have become a part of the American contingent to the Paris Exposition and how Emily hopes to use the opportunity for both work and a family learning experience. Ms. McNamara does an excellent job describing the high fashion of the time, along with the behavior of her patron during this trip, Mrs. Palmer, the wife of a very wealthy and powerful Chicago businessman. Mrs. Palmer is the only American “commissioner” at the Exposition and was determined to hire Emily to act as her “secretary” for both her social and “formal” engagements during their stay in Paris. A good portion of the book is devoted to the descriptions of the gowns and sights seen from the time they arrive to when they depart to the U.S. I liked Emily’s character almost right from the start but have to admit that it did take me a while to connect with her. I believe this is partly because this is the first book I’ve read in this series and Emily’s character, and those of her husband and children, were already well established and also because the story’s pace was somewhat slow. As I became more accustomed to Ms. McNamara’s voice as an author, and the pace, I did enjoy how the story developed. The secondary characters were colorful and very interesting, though Mrs. Palmer and another secondary character, trying to find a titled suiter for her daughter, both got on my nerves. There are actually two mysteries which Emily finds herself drawn into solving as the Exposition takes place; a series of jewel thefts and a murder which takes place during one of the fashion exhibits. While the French police are involved, and we are introduced to an interesting inspector, Emily is pushed into the investigations when Mrs. Palmer’s son becomes a person of interest in both investigations. While I was suspicious of one of the characters, who turned out to be involved, right from the start, I was surprised at the end when both mysteries are solved. As I stated earlier, I did think the story’s pace was a little slow, perhaps a bit too much emphasis was placed on the fashion part of the story and not enough on the mystery aspect, but I did enjoy Ms. McNamara’s voice and her descriptions were very detailed. You could tell she had done quite a bit of research and she did an excellent job discussing all of the couture houses in existence at the time. Will Emily discover who is stealing the priceless jewels at the exhibition before the thief strikes again? And why did a milner get killed at one of the high fashion exhibits? Are the two cases tied together? You’ll have to read Death at the Paris Exhibition to find out, I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of this author’
wordsandpeace More than 1 year ago
Perfect example of how to integrate smartly the fruit of your research into a historical novel. Luscious descriptions and suspenseful mystery. Very enjoyable. It all started at Printers Row Lit Festival, in Chicago in 2014, when I met Frances McNamara at a booth. Enjoying historical mysteries, I was intrigued by Death at the Fair, her novel set in Chicago during the World’s Columbian Exposition. I enjoyed very much the heroine Emily Cabot, so I am thrilled to travel with her today to another world exhibit, the one in Paris in 1900, as presented in Death at the Paris Exposition. By now (this is the 6th volume in the series, but they all work well as standalone), Emily is married to Stephen, a doctor and medical researcher. She teaches at the University of Chicago and is much involved in politics, defending the place in women in society. They have three young children. Bertha Palmer, a famous businesswoman, socialite, and philanthropist of Chicago, has invited Emily’s family to come and join her at the Paris Exposition. Bertha Palmer (who eventually received La Légion d’Honneur, in January 1901) is the only woman commissioner, and Emily is to serve as her secretary to manage the American delegation and pavilion. The Palmers are there with their son Honoré and his friend Lord James. As the women try on new dresses sewn by the House of Worth, a famous French house of high fashion that specialized in haute couture, Bertha’s necklace disappears. Feeling in debt for this free trip to Paris, and not satisfied by the job done by the French cynical policeman, Emily decides to do her own investigation to help Bertha recover her jewels and identify the thief. Things turn out more tricky than expected when murders are added to more thefts. I really enjoyed the suspense, with some totally unexpected twists. But the greatness of the book lies I believe in the amazing amount of research done and how it is so artfully woven into the narrative. The author consulted many books and videos on the topic. Even if you don’t understand French, this one is amazing. If you have met me in the real life, you would know right away I am not into fashion nor fancy dresses. Even so, I was totally captivated by the descriptions of the dresses (found by the author for instance in Isabella Stewart Gardner’s letters), their colors and texture of the fabrics, as well as the job of couturiers and milliners, and the hard competition. By the way, you can see some clothes and accessories owned by Bertha Palmer here. Or on Frances McNamara’s Pinterest board. You will recognize some dresses you have read about in the book! The richness of descriptions applies as well to places, the exposition in itself, especially the architecture and the events, but so much more, as McNamara smartly sends Emily to different neighborhoods of Paris (Notre Dame Cathedral, les bouquinistes along La Seine, le Quartier Latin, Montmartre) and even outside Paris (Beauvais for instance). Allium Press created also an awesome Pinterest board on the topic! I enjoyed a neat passage on cafés: “Concern for food and drunk was only a secondary object of the customers. The primary goal was watching.” Go grab your copy and keep reading the fascinating description on page 74. There were also interesting comparisons between this 1900 Paris Exposition and the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. You could feel the jealousy between the American and the French.
Griperang72a More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read in this series and by this author. Although this is number six in a series I was not lost and was able to enjoy the book. I will say that now I do want to get back and catch up on this series. The author did a good job of capturing the time and place making this historically accurate. I liked that Emily was able to work with the French police and they respected her which in that time period was not always the case. I also liked how the author included real people, places and events in the telling of this story. With all the descriptions you can really get a feel for all things involved. This book will capture your attention from the first page and not let go until the end. I was kept guessing until the end A good book and I am looking forward to reading more by this author.