The Bones of Paris

The Bones of Paris

by Laurie R. King

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345531773
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/10/2013
Series: Stuyvesant & Grey Series , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 387,369
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen Mary Russell mysteries, five contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli, the Stuyvesant & Grey novels Touchstone and The Bones of Paris, and the acclaimed A Darker Place, Folly, and Keeping Watch. She lives in Northern California.

Read an Excerpt


The morning exploded.

The room’s east windows flared with a hot torment that seared across Harris Stuyve­sant’s brain, stabbing through his eyes, splintering his thoughts, turning his mouth to old shoe leather: cracked, greasy, foul.

A long way off, miles and miles away, his hand crept across the sticky sheets to the bed-side table, directed by one squinting eye towards the leather straps that stuck in the air like the legs of some dead thing. The hand fumbled, lifted, fumbled again to reverse the watch-face.

Jesus: not yet ten, and already a furnace.

Stuyve­sant managed to get his feet to the carpet, waiting out the secondary explosion inside his skull before he rose to stumble a path through discarded clothing to the corner basin. The water was disgustingly warm, but he drank a glass anyway, then bent to let the tap splash over his face and hair. He wrestled with the aspirin bottle for an hour or so, palmed three pills and washed them down with a second glass, then reached out to part the curtains a fraction.

A dizzying panorama of rooftops: tiles and tin, brick and timber, steeples and drying laundry; centuries of chimneypots, with a narrow slice of stone magnificence in the distance. Children’s voices and taxi horns competed with a tram rattle from the rue de Rennes and a neighbor’s accordion, mournfully wading through a lively tune. His nose filled with the pervasive stink of an unemptied septic tank.

Summer in Paris.

He went back to his seat on the side of the bed, picking up his cigarette case and lighter.

The tap of the Ronson touching wood set off a convulsion in the bed. A hand emerged from the sheets, then a tangled head of brassy blonde hair, followed by blue eyes blinking in outrage.

“Ferme les rideaux putain!”

He wasn’t sure if she was calling him a whore, or the curtains, and he didn’t think he would be able to shape the question without coffee. Even the French swill that was mostly chicory.

“Doesn’t help any to shut them, honey. They’re like tissue paper.”


“Nothing,” he told her. “I have to go to work.”

She understood that, and yanked the covers back over her matted hair. Stuyve­sant swiveled around on the bed to rip them off her. “Really,” he said. “It’s time to rise and shine.”

But instead of complaining, or assaulting him with curses, she gave a sinuous writhe to curl against his leg, looking up at him as coquettishly as a person could when her mascara was smeared like something from a German horror film.

“You take me for breakfast, ’Arris?” One soft breast pressed into his knee, two firm fingers walked a path up the inside of his bent thigh.

He smashed the cigarette out against the ash-tray, then bent over the smeared horror-eyes. “I try never to disappoint a lady,” he told her.

Be nice if he could remember this one’s name.


A conversation:

“You knew that Crosby girl, didn’t you?”

“Crosby? I don’t believe I . . .”

“Peggy? Patricia? There was something about photographs and a scar—this was some time ago.”

“Ah, yes: Philippa. What about her?”

“Is she still around?”

“I haven’t seen her in months. Why?”

“There was an American asking about her, last night. He claims he was hired by her parents, though he looked a real brute to me. I thought if you were still in touch, you might let her know.”

“As I say, it’s been months. Did you talk to the fellow?”

“No, but he’s around the Quarter if you want him. That girl, Lulu? The one with the light fingers? He’s spending time with her.”

“Sounds a suitable match.”

“Better than the Crosby girl—too naïve for her own good.”

“A description fitting half the women in Montparnasse.”

“Certainly the Americans. Why on earth do their fathers let them leave the house?”


“I know—they’re just asking for trouble. They come to town, sleep with as many boys as they can find, and are shocked as lambs when they get hurt. I suppose that’s why so many of them drift away. I can’t think how many times someone has said, ‘Has anyone seen Daisy?’ or Iris or whoever. The girls here seem to make a habit of flitting in and out, and . . .”

The other man nodded.

And in the background, a machine began to tick.


This seemed to be Stuyve­sant’s day for drunken women. Well, it was Paris; it was 1929. What else could he expect?

Two hours after he’d taken Lulu for breakfast (there: he’d even remembered her name), Harris Stuyve­sant rapped on a polished wooden door. The Rive Droite apartment was half as old and ten times as clean as his hotel room across the Seine, and even three flights up from street level, its hallways smelled like money. No septic tanks around here.

He knocked again.

The girl had to be back from the Riviera (or Monte Carlo or wherever she’d spent the summer)—and the building’s gorgon of a concierge had spoken on the telephone with someone in apartment 406 before reluctantly permitting him to pass, two minutes ago.

So unless the resident had made a break over the roof tiles . . .

He changed from knuckles to fist and pounded, hard. In response, a long extended grumble welled gradually from within. Locks rattled. The door swung open.

The girl was tall, and brown: dark eyes, chestnut hair, sun-tanned skin, dressed in a man’s chocolate-colored dressing-gown. The most colorful things about her were two heavily bloodshot eyes, explained by the stale-wine smell oozing from her pores.

Colorful eyes, and vocabulary. Three years ago when he’d come to France, Stuyve­sant wouldn’t have understood a thing the girl was saying—and even now he missed a few phrases. Those he did get made him blink.

“Yeah, sorry,” he interrupted loudly, in English. “I woke you up and you’re not happy with me. I need to ask you about Pip Crosby.”

“Who?” The accent sounded American, suggesting this was the roommate, but he’d need more than a monosyllable to be sure.

“Pip—Philippa. Crosby.”

“Phil?” The red eyes squinted against the brightness, and the wide, dry lips emitted another expletive. Thought appeared to be a challenge, but he caught no flare of guilty panic across her angular features.

“Are you Nancy Berger?”


He took that for an affirmative, and planted one broad hand against the door, pushing gently. “How ’bout I come in and fix you some coffee?” She swayed. He caught her elbow, then hooked his Panama over the coat-rack and walked her inside to a seat, finding a roomy, light-filled apartment, comfortably furnished and clean beneath what appeared to be an exploded suitcase.

He located the kitchen and a coffee percolator, along with a package of grounds that, although stale-smelling, at least wasn’t chicory. While the pot gurgled, he snooped through drawers and flipped through a crate of unopened mail. It dated back to June.

When the glass button showed dark, he poured two cups and stirred sugar into both, carrying them out to the next room. The brown girl sat, unblinking, on a bright orange settee, the gap in her robe creating a provocative degree of cleavage (though personally, he preferred freckles to sun-tan). He pushed a cup into her hand, removed a pair of silk undergarments from the chair, and sat down in front of her.

“Drink,” he ordered. “It’ll help.”

Her eyes focused on the cup. She tried to speak, cleared her throat, tried again. “Milk?”

“There isn’t any.” Her robe kept sagging; in a minute, one side or the other would be unfettered.

She blew across the top, sipped, and croaked, “I don’t take sugar.” American, yes. She took another swallow.

Soon, she looked more alive and less queasy—and more crucial, her straighter posture restored a degree of closure to her garments. He handed her the note that he’d left with the concierge on Saturday afternoon, which he’d found on the counter under a dusty boot.

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The Bones of Paris 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
LiederMadchen More than 1 year ago
It has been three years since the events of Touchstone, and Harris Stuyvesant is a little harder, a little more cynical and more than a little bit lost. He's survived on odd jobs and meaningless affairs since he gave up investigating and was given up by Sarah Grey. Now, however, he has a case that will challenge his somewhat aimless existence and bring him face to face with the ghosts of his past. As he searches for a missing girl, Stuyvesant finds himself plumbing the most Stygian depths of Paris. Even his jaded eyes are surprised by the deeply disturbing and peculiarly sensual world he discovers. I was surprised and disturbed as well, yet could not look away. The rich and eerie descriptions were as revolting as they were compelling, sending shivers down my spine. It is a no-holds-barred exploration of some of the strangest artistic minds of the time. This is not a book for the faint of heart. Despite the relentlessly macabre displays that take up so much of this novel, I did enjoy it a great deal. The writing was flawless, the mystery was fascinating and original, and I liked seeing Stuyvesant, Bennett and Sarah again. Of the three, Sarah has changed the most. She is, understandably, not so exuberant as before and a good deal stronger. However, she is still drawn to dangerous friendships and continues to have excellent taste in her romantic attachments. There were some interesting new characters introduced, which almost made up for the fact that Bennett was hardly in most of the book. I especially liked Doucet and Nancy; a determined French cop and the very straightforward room-mate of Philippa Crosby, the girl Stuyvesant is attempting to find. Then there is the shudder-inducing Didi Moreau and the sophisticated, multi-layered Dominic Charmentier. Each new character is utterly unique in their own ways and completely unforgettable. If you enjoyed Touchstone, you will enjoy The Bones of Paris. It has all the things that made the previous novel great as well as several memorable new additions. I would recommend it to those who enjoy the darkest of mysteries and gothic horror. I received an advance e-copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Paris did not seem ......Paris or french... plotting too elaborate. As usual tried sample and then borrowed remind you that you can borrow e books from library on line or print not a keeper so prefer that way so dont have to pay or archive M.A.@sparta
anneb10 More than 1 year ago
Bones of Paris is a stellar sequel to the lackluster Touchstone.  The book opens in 1929, three years after the events of Touchstone. with the hero - Harris Stuyvesant - no longer with the FBI.  Now a freelance private detective and jack-of-all-trades to make ends meet he knocks about cheaper Europe as work takes him. The mother of a young woman who had been a fling several months before hires Stuyvesant to find her missing daughter.  Assuming it's a simple cause of debauchery taken to extremes, he takes the case.  It should be easy money, and he has rent to pay.  All to soon, however, he realizes that something much darker is at work in the City of Light. King's novel brings the city of Paris in the Roaring Twenties to vibrant life; it is as much a character as any of those that populates the novel.  Seeing how Harris Stuyvesant has evolved since Touchstone is interesting.  It also helps to have ready the first book, but there are enough deftly-handled clues as to what's come before to make it readable to anyone just picking this up. Definitely worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Huge fan but sorely disappointed this time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
theblankpage More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a Mary Russell type mystery, (which I love in itself ) you will not find it here. This is a mystery with grit and gore. The characters are complicated. There is a history here you have to dig through to see the real post war Paris. The city where debutantes and young rich men go to sew their oats before succumbing to their duties as the blessed. It is also a city the famous go to wet their appetite. Follow this detective through the bizarre art world of Paris as he searches for a young American girl. Touchstone is the first in this series. I read them backwards but loved them both .
colleen38 More than 1 year ago
I have previously enjoyed Kairue King's series of books, but this is the most disgusting, sadistic gratuitous piece of trash I have ever encountered. There is not one person in the book who could by any stretch of the imagination be considered likeable; the horror and macabre descriptions are revolting. For the first time in my life, after 1002 pages, I threw the book away. For shame, Laurie King, pandering the the basest instincts of human kind with this book. Do not waste your time or money buying this book unless you are an aficionado of .utterly disgusting tripe. I did not receive a free copy of this book for a "fair and honest" review; I wasted $15 on a piece of garbage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nothing much happened.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very common where there are too many books in a series sonetimes its such a reach that it doesnt work like mystery for sci fi or romance sometimes its a change in time or country a story is a story is a story and this just wasnt too good no matter where or when hard to finish it but was a borrow buska
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Corner_mouse More than 1 year ago
Ms King's attempt to explore the macabre strays too far from her forte, making us believe in and like unusual, even improbable, protagonists as they struggle in real life venues and circumstances. We like them, and can cheer them on wholeheartedly.In the Bones she presents a seriously flawed protagonist in settings more suited to fantasy than real life. This has been done elsewhere,but here we view the characters as if they were distant acquaintances who have developed leprosy since we last met them. She should either make her French unessential to the plot or abandon it, except where critically necessary. As s i is like watching a film with subtitles.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Masterful weaving of 20s details in rich descriptions - takes me back to Paris! I have been savouring like a nice Bordeaux, and will be trying another of Ms. King's creations. I think this offers several perspectives for book club enjoyment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really drawn out.  I found myself wishing that the end would come sooner rather than later as it seemed that the author just wanted to show off her frenchrather than get on with the story
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CherylM-M More than 1 year ago
In the world of art there is a fine line between genius and lunacy The main character Harry has got the laid back attitude of a Sam Spade like detective. Never more than a step away from a willing romp or glass of booze. The setting is late 1920s in Paris, where the rich, famous and allegedly talented hang out together. A time and era that is filled to the brim of names yet to become globally infamous. Paris of that time period was filled with an air of decadence and conceptual freedom. That gaudy sense of the macabre and pleasure in the forbidden fruit takes center stage in this book. The boundaries of taste are lost within the pseudo intellectual meanderings of artists and their benefactors. Art is no longer distinguishable between sadistic tendencies and the ideas of a genius. One man's art is another man's rubbish or in this case hidden lunacy. The conclusion seemed a little rushed. The reader is confronted with lists of names of missing people that offer up no real connection to the crime, ergo useless to the reader. The main character couldn't find a link between the missing so it isn't any wonder the reader can't. Apparently you have to have faux Sherlock powers to able to figure it out. The why, who and when is presented on a five minute platter towards the end to a secondary character. That didn't make a lot of sense after the whole Harry build up. There was a lot of name dropping but I think the author wanted to clarify that this was the norm in that era. Artists, writers, the wealthy and the famous did all flock together like birds of a feather in certain cities/countries. It was en-vogue and très chic to be part of the scene. Where else could one expect to be decadent without fear of consequence or conscience if not in gay Paris. Overall it was a decent read, which could have done with a little more structure. The left field entrance of Mr Grey felt like an add-on due to the main character being far too distracted to solve the actual crime. Harry could do with a little less whiskey and women and far more deductive reasoning. I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written, with believable, interesting characters and a clever mystery. I am somewhat enamored of 1920s Paris, and really enjoyed the setting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my least favorite of Laurie King's books. Difficult to stay interested. Very dark. Repetitive.