Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Paris Enigma” as Want to Read:
The Paris Enigma
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Paris Enigma (El enigma de París #1)

3.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  760 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
In the tradition of Caleb Carr's The Alienist and Eric Larsen's The Devil in the White City comes a gripping tale of murder and the art of crime solving, atmospherically set during the 1889 Paris World's Fair.

It is 1889, and the entire world breathlessly anticipates the Paris World's Fair and the opening of Monsieur Eiffel's iconic tower. The Twelve Detectives—a society o
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 11th 2008 by Harper (first published 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Paris Enigma, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Paris Enigma

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,347)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Oct 05, 2015 Spotsalots added it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
This is something of a meta-fiction. Readers hoping for a richly detailed, atmospheric adventure occurring in the shadow of the new Eiffel Tower will be disappointed. It's not really about Paris in the 1880s, it's about the conventions of early detective fiction and the shift toward Modernism. If you've read enough early detective fiction (apparently I have done so, back in the days when I read a book or more a day), you'll recognize these conventions and the gently humorous use they are put to ...more
Mar 16, 2009 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-books, crime
The Twelve Detectives are a famous group of crime solving individuals - spread throughout the world. In the 1880's their exploits are well known - the magazine The Key to Crime regularly publishes the story of their investigations. Sigmundo Salvatrio works in his father's shoe repair shop, but he doesn't dream of being a cobbler - his dream is to join the ranks of the acolytes of the world famous investigators. It seems a pipe dream as Renato Craig, the only one of the detectives who lives in Bu ...more
Jim Loter
Jan 05, 2015 Jim Loter rated it liked it
"The Paris Enigma" is a beautifully written (or perhaps [or also] beautifully translated) novel that reflects on the nature of the detective story and its purpose as the Victorian era transition to early Modernity. As a crime novel itself, it is underwhelming but the main mystery is not really the point.

Pablo de Santis deftly weaves together all of the common tropes and themes of classic detective stories, literally putting them on exhibit, and then systematically dismantles them as the World's
I picked this book on a whim at the last minute before the bookshop was closing, and was happy to find that it's an enjoyable read.

Imagine a world where detectives are always in a pair, like Sherlock and Watson, like Poirot and Hastings, where the companion is always the person from whose point of view the reader glimpsed into the story. The companion who, at the very end of the story, would demand an explanation of the whole case from the detective. Imagine a place where this "companion" isn't
Sep 12, 2015 Robin rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
This started off with an appropriately gloomy and mysterious Argentinian setting, and a promising premise: there is a society of the world’s most famous detectives, each of whom has one assistant, and they all are convening for the first time at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris. The Argentinian detective cannot attend, so he sends his brand-new assistant in his place with a secret message for one of the other detectives.

I lost interest once the main character arrives in Paris, which is shocking, b
Oct 04, 2014 Nate rated it really liked it
A medida que avanzaba en la historia me preguntaba ¿cuantas estrellas podria darle a este libro? Finalmente me incline por las cuatro.
Buena historia e interesantes personajes a mi parecer, me mantuvo en el enigma durante todo el libro salteando entre mis sospechosos y recordando ese viejo gusto de infancia que tenia por Doyle. Sin embargo, en algo fallo. Tuve muchos altibajos a medida que avanzaba, podia engancharme con la lectura y viajar a 1888 asi como suspirar por las mil anecdotaa y vaijes
May 26, 2014 Jeff rated it it was ok
The Paris Enigma was what I call a "just there" type of book. The kind of material you read because it is just there, i.e. in a waiting room, at someone's house, etc.
That is to say I read the sample and found it intriguing enough to purchase the rest of the book which became a let down after I had the rest of the story.
It is the story of the Twelve Detectives who are twelve of the best detectives coming from different corners of the world, Germany, Japan, Italy, etc.
With a young acolyte studyin
May 21, 2011 Arabis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The idea sounded appealing "Twelve of the world's greatest sleuthes have gathered to discuss their most famous cases..." as did the setting of the Paris World Fair in 1889. But sadly, this one didn't really grab me.
Feb 04, 2015 Elvenn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, though a bit slow paced.
From my blog,

The Paris Enigma by Pablo De Santis is an interesting book; for me, sort of an alternative history of private detectives. It begins just before the 1889 Paris World's Fair, when Argentine detective Renaldo Craig opens an academy for those interested in learning about detecting--those who enroll believe he is going to finally choose an acolyte, or assistant. Craig is one of the Twelve Detectives, a society known world-wide for their detecting sk
Jan 20, 2011 Rose rated it really liked it
Set against the backdrop of the 1889 World's Fair, The Paris Enigma actually begins in Argentina, where our protagonist Sigmundo Salvatrio becomes an assistant to famed detective Renaldo Craig. A founding member of the 12 Detectives, a society of the greatest detectives in the world, Craig initially plans to travel to Paris where the group will put on an exhibition as part of the Fair. But after the bizarre murder of one of Craig's proteges renders Craig a recluse, Sigmundo is sent to Paris in h ...more
Aug 03, 2011 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Paris Enigma is advertised as a 'Historical whodunit' set in the 1880's in Paris at the World's Fair. The Twelve Detectives, a group of well known detectives from all around the world, are meeting in Paris, along with their acolytes (assistants) to spotlight their skills and implements of detection to the Worlds Fair crowds. The story is written from a first person perspective, a Sigmundo Salvatrio, who is a cobblers son in Buenos Aires, who dreams of being a detective and joins Renato Craig ...more
Rowland Bismark
The Paris Enigma is narrated by Sigmundo Salvatrio, the son of a cobbler. His own career-path began when he saw an ad in a Buenos Aires newspaper in 1888, the famous (and only) local detective Renato Craig willing to share his knowledge and teach a select group of young men his trade. Salvatrio is among the chosen few, and begins to learn from this man who is one of 'The Twelve' -- The Twelve Detectives, "a group of the most elite detectives in the world". Salvatrio -- and all the others -- all ...more
3'5/5 estrellas: Me gusto mucho (SIN SPOILERS)
Hace mucho que quería cambiar un poco y leer un libro estilo policial, este no era mi primera opción, sin embargo, lo encontré tirado por mi casa y le dí una oportunidad. Es libro no fue lo que yo quería, algo sangriento, lleno de acción y muy muy crudo, no es sangriento, no es crudo y no tiene mucha acción. La mayor parte del libro era frases filosóficas, las cuales si bien me gustaron, eran aburridas. El escritor escribe muy muy bien, es medio pes
Apr 26, 2013 M M rated it it was ok
This account of the development of the twelve Master Detectives followed by a brutal series of murders in the run-up to the inauguration of Paris's World Fair, you know, the one that unveiled the Eiffel Tower, is ponderous and pondering. The Paris Enigma describes a secret club comprising the top detectives of the world and their faithful assistants, and reports their petty machinations for power and influence, and discusses the classification and analysis of crime. The structure of the detectiv ...more
Apr 14, 2008 Maria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Todas las maravillas del saber humano se dan cita en la gran exposición universal de París, en 1889, una ocasión que hace de la ciudad un lugar luminoso, brillante, moderno, cuyo símbolo es una extraña torre de hierro desde cuya altura parece posible comprenderlo todo, explicarlo todo, desvelar el misterio.
Y a ello va a dedicarse también la reunión de la orden de los Doce Detectives, los famosos investigadores llegados de todos los lugares del mundo que han decidido revelar al público los diver
Mar 08, 2011 Baseni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: krimis
"In Paris finden 1889 mehrere Ereignisse statt, aus Anlaß des 100. Geburtstages der französischen Revolution gibt es eine Weltausstellung, es wird hierzu der Eiffelturm eröffnet, und die 12 berühmtesten Detektive reisen aus der ganzen Welt an, um sich in einem Hotel zu versammeln. Einer, es ist der Vertreter Argentiniens, wird durch seinen erst kurz zuvor ernannten Adlatus vertreten. Dieser ist auch der Berichterstatter der folgenden Ereignisse.
Einer der Detektive wird ermordet. Er sollte den n
Mar 08, 2014 Laurie rated it liked it
I would give this book 4 stars for it's beautiful phrasing but only three for it's content.The mystery is slow in coming and not very mysterious.The conclusion is underwhelming.And the large number of enigmatic characters takes away from the story.So many of them are irrelevant to the tale.Much importance is placed on naming them over and over but they lead nowhere.The book jacket was unfortunately more exciting than the book.
Betsy Ashton
Dec 30, 2013 Betsy Ashton rated it liked it
Pablo De Santis writes a throw-back novel in The Paris Enigma. Set just before the opening of the World's Fair in Paris in 1889, the Twelve Detectives agree to meet and share their secrets. Gathered from across the world, this clique represents clashes of egos, techniques and skulduggery. When one of the detectives is murdered and a corpse is found burned, the detectives try to outdo each other to determine who the killer is.

This is a throw-back in style, because it reads more like Arthur Conan
Feb 23, 2016 Becky rated it it was ok
Drivel. Seemed to start out as a bumbling British detective mystery- was it supposed to be humorous? I read it because I saw it on a list of "Best books of 2008". I didn't get captured by the story, only at the end was there any "mystery" to solve. A far cry from "Devil in the White City", which this book has been compared to. The only similarity is the setting of a World's Fair. Too many irrelevant characters, too many insignificant "rules" to try to make you understand the tone.

Not recommende
May 08, 2015 Dorian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The amount of characters were hard to keep track of, and the story didn't end up being of much interest to me. By the end of it I was glad to put it down and move onto something else.

There are better mystery books out there, though some of my disinterest was because the writing felt quite plain in places. It might be better in its original language.
Book Concierge
Sep 29, 2012 Book Concierge rated it it was ok
The Twelve Detectives – a society of the world’s top sleuths – are meeting at the 1889 Paris World’s Fair. But before the fair opens, a series of murder require their collective expertise.

De Santis studied literature and worked as a journalist and comic-book writer. This latter endeavor is clearly represented in his debut novel. The plot is thinly drawn, but the characters are as vivid (if two-dimensional) as the best Dick Tracy or Batman villains. All we’re missing are the drawings and a few K
Dec 03, 2015 Maria rated it really liked it
Sok negatív kritikát olvastam a könyvről, de számomra nem volt akkora csalódás.
Igaz, nem sok esemény (akció) történik benne, de hát Agatha Christie-nél is inkább a párbeszédek, az elmélkedések mennek.
Bár a fülszöveg alapján mást vártam. Igaz, hogy szinte minden benne volt a könyvben, mint amit ott írtak, de az alapján a pár sor alapján többet vártam.
De a detektívek furmányos történetei meg a hasonlatai nagyon tetszettek.
Ron Mitchell
I was intrigued by the novelty of the idea: a young Argentinean goes to Paris and becomes 'assistant' to one of the famed 12 detectives. But to be honest I lost track early of who was who - there are 12 detectives AND 12 assistants, plus miscellaneous occultists, policemen and mysterious women. I made it to the end: there's actually a pretty good story in there, but it could have done with a good pruning. Also I don't think the translation from Spanish was of the very highest quality.
I did not read this book in the original Spanish, I must declare at the outset. I couldn't find the translated version (The Paris Enigma) through my Goodreads search, so I just clicked on this one. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough. Why are we even discussing this? Oh yeah, so you don't think I read something called El enigma de Paris...anywho...the book took a little while to get the ball rolling, but it was a fun ride, with 12--count'em 12!--(fictional) detectives and their acolytes from vario ...more
Facundo Yuffrida
Oct 31, 2014 Facundo Yuffrida rated it it was amazing
I really thing that this is one of the bests books I've ever read! I can't give a review because my english isn't too good, but know that it's an excelent book!
Sep 09, 2015 Vyou rated it liked it
3.5 esta novela me sorprendió bastante. Al principio pensé que no me iba a gustar nada, pero luego cada paso que daba me agrada mas y al final sin duda vale la pena la lectura.
A story of the twelve detectives in 1880 and their apprentices. The main hero is neither an apprentice nor a detective on strict terms but he manages to see and maybe help at the destruction of the organisation. Crimes inside other crimes. First with his mentor the Argentinian detective and then in Paris with the Paris detective. A bit of a strange plot. The first frimes are not important and their explanation is short and a bit hasty for my taste. The crimes in Paris occupies most of the book a ...more
Jan 31, 2013 Stefff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always had a thing for detectives. They can be so mysterious and intriguing, wrapped up in themselves and always in love with the unknown. That's why I picked up this book. (and because of its gorgeous cover!)
I liked it and I certainly don't regret reading it but I won't read it again.
I loved the setting, the dangerous and dimmly lit corners and alleys, the mysterious history of the Eiffel tower. Also the relationship between the detectives and their assistants was very interesting and nove
Mariano Di Maggio
Jul 25, 2015 Mariano Di Maggio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Como casi todas las novelas detectivescas me atrapó. El combo alumno maestro, escuela de... Siempre funciona
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 44 45 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • La pesquisa
  • Distancia de rescate
  • Una sombra ya pronto serás
  • The Book of Murder
  • A Plan for Escape
  • Los lanzallamas (Los siete locos, #2)
  • The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra
  • Mort Cinder
  • Los pichiciegos
  • Operación Masacre
  • Informe sobre ciegos
  • El libro del fantasma
  • De held
  • Más respeto que soy tu madre
  • Shantytown
  • The Tango Singer: A Novel
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Will of the Dead
  • The Mystery of Mary Rogers
A journalist and comic-strip creator who became editor in chief of one of Argentina’s leading comics magazines, Pablo De Santis is the author of six critically acclaimed novels, one work of nonfiction, and a number of books for young adults. His works have been published in more than twenty countries. He lives in Buenos Aires.
More about Pablo de Santis...

Other Books in the Series

El enigma de París (2 books)
  • Crímenes y Jardines (El Enigma de París, #2)

Share This Book

“I came to realize that detectives and shoemakers see the world from beneath, both focusing more on the footsteps that have strayed away from their intended path than the path itself.” 0 likes
“...the perfect enigmas, the ones that, at first glance, were inexplicable. I liked to see how - in a disorganized but predictable world - an organized but totally unpredictable way of reasoning emerged.” 0 likes
More quotes…