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Violette Noziere: A Story of Murder in 1930s Paris

3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  77 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
On an August evening in 1933, in a quiet, working-class neighborhood in Paris, eighteen-year-old Violette Noziere gave her mother and father glasses of barbiturate-laced "medication," which she told them had been prescribed by the family doctor; one of her parents died, the other barely survived. Almost immediately Violette s act of "double parricide" became the most sensa ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by University of California Press (first published May 1st 2011)
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Nancy Oakes
Feb 04, 2013 Nancy Oakes added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in social/cultural history of Interwar France
While compiling my thoughts on this book, I also changed my opinion on its rating, sending it from a 3 to a 3.5. It is extremely interesting and very well researched, and provides a wealth of detail, not only about Violette, her crime and her parents, but also about changes in society as a whole during the interwar period that may have had a bearing on the outcome of the case, or at least in the public perception. BUT (and there's always a "but," isn't there), as interesting and thought-provokin ...more
lisa_emily
I became interested in Violette Nozière story after seeing the very stylized film by Chabrol, with the perfectly sangfroid performance by Isabelle Huppert. This book looks deeper in the case and embeds it in an historical context. Maza looks at why there was so much interest in this event, especially in the shadow of WWII and Germany’s impending invasion of Paris. Maza re-creates Paris of the 30s right down the surrealists’ interest in Nozière. It would seem surprising that such a specialized mo ...more
Caroline
Jul 14, 2013 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
In 1933, a young woman attempted to poison her parents to death and accused her dead father of incest. It was the headline grabbing crime of the time. This book is not true crime, but instead discusses the cultural and historical context of the crime as well as it's coverage in the press. It's a great read for those of us who like history and true crime. Unfortunately the strength of the book is at times also it's weakness: the side trips sometimes veer too far from the central story for my inte ...more
Margaret Sankey
Aug 31, 2011 Margaret Sankey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baptiste and Germain Noziere, having climbed the social ladder from peasant to upper blue collar railroad employees, sacrificed to send their deliberately only child to good Paris schools in the hopes of snagging a white collar husband or respectable post-WWI old maid job. Instead, Violette went wild and wanted the freedoms of the 1920s, not the crushing restrictions of a tiny family apartment with communal toilets, chaperoned social life and out-of-reach consumer goods. This train wreck culmina ...more
Wanda
Jul 21, 2011 Wanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story of an 18 year old woman who murders her father and tries to murder her mother by poisoning them. She alleged that her father was sexually abusing her. But, and this is a big but, she was also a chronic liar. I suspect that she was a sociopath who wanted her parents out of her way so that she could enjoy her life without interference. Despite Maza's repeatedly telling us how beautiful Violette was, in reality she was rather homely, and I suspect that she created a fictional world of lie ...more
Caroline
Interesting use of an extremely high-profile case in 1930s Paris to explore social mobility and family life between the wars. The emergence of a large lower middle class population with aspirations for their children, amidst the continuing political and religious factions of earlier times, is the background for a case that exemplifies the rise of the faits divers, stories that now fill the tabloids.

The author presents a reasonably balanced story, managing the gradual revelations of complicating
...more
Lisa Smith
In 1933, eighteen year old, Violette Noziere murdered her father and almost murdered her mother by slipping them poison. She was the Lizzy Borden of her time in Paris and her crime heralded the beginning of what we now call "tabloid journalism". This is not your typical crime drama. Much of this book reads like a sociology textbook carefully examining the new emerging class system in France (the rise of a middle class), the role of women in society, the evolution of journalism and the attitudes ...more
Shelly
Dec 14, 2015 Shelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I'm giving it two stars because I learned a lot about French and specifically Parisian history during the 30's and 40's and the story of Violette is very interesting. However, this was tedious to read. Not really a story as much as a well-researched history of "the affair".
Deborah
Aug 04, 2011 Deborah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found the book to be confusing with its many sidetracks into subject areas that were not clearly explained. Often times , things were mentioned in a chapter by name, but not clearly explained until the following chapter. I think the story connection to the Surrealists could have been better developed,instead different crime cases were dragged into the story. Too many side stories with nothing being firmly explained or developed. Too bad, I felt the author was knowledgable.
Cynthia Kane
Feb 15, 2013 Cynthia Kane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very academic study on this famous case - I appreciated it for dropping us into a time and place, helping any reader understand that it's vital to also understand a period where something like this and it's famous trial happen.
I want to rewatch the Chabrol film now-
Cathy
Jan 22, 2014 Cathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I guess I was more interested in the true crime aspects of this than the sociology of Paris in the 1930's. The author tried to tie them up together but I felt there was too much of the history and I was really more interested in Violette.
Jehnie
Dec 30, 2013 Jehnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, academic
Maza uses the story of a murder in 1930s Paris to examine daily life of a working class unaffected by the Wars or the Depression. A lot of the themes reflect sensationalism of crimes today: gender expectations, incest, social norms...
Molly
Mar 08, 2011 Molly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An academic history in the same class as Drew Gilpin Faust, so fluently written and engaging I'm sure it will find a wider audience.
Rachel Jones
Dec 28, 2012 Rachel Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author weaves in all sorts of interesting cultural history into the story of Violette. I'm not a francophile, but I still enjoyed it.
Emily
Sep 19, 2011 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book more than I did. It really got bogged down in details.
Marjorie Roesinger
the story itself was good-felt the author spent too much time setting it up.
Ruth Laura Edlund
Interesting mix of true crime and hifalutin sociology.
Carol Keenan
Mar 08, 2015 Carol Keenan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! So detailed!
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Susan M Goerke
Susan M Goerke rated it it was amazing
Dec 19, 2015
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