Taylor's Reviews > Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris

Death in the City of Light by David King
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U 50x66
's review
Apr 18, 2012

it was ok
Read in April, 2012

This book was a mess. I'm not sure what book the Booklist guy was reading, but it wasn't the same one I was. For an author who boasts that he access to records about the killer, Dr. Petiot, from both the German and French Governments, he really had nothing to say from them. There is no definative answer about whether the Doctor was actually a Nazi spy, or part of the French Resistance, and more importantly, the author didn't seem to try and find out. World War II wasn't that long ago-there are people you could ask about that.

There were other problems too. First, the timeline was all over the place, so I had a very hard figuring out what happened when. The Doctor had been accused of murder before, but whether that was when he was country doctor fighting drug dealing charges, or while at medical school, I couldn't tell you. Second, there was no explanation of the French Court System, which is also pretty important. Did you know that, in the French Court, the families of the victims can hire their own lawyers who can question the defendant? Or that everyone can just argue with one another the whole time? Apparently they can. A short explanation of how the French court worked would have made the trial section of the book (the second half of it) make much more sense. Third, the main detective leaves the case right before trial starts. That makes sense, as much as real life does, but the author never establishes another main character to follow. As a result, the second half is a weird free-for-all of stuff going on. It would have been nice to have the main prosecutor to follow when the main detective left the story. Finally (and this is the worst), the author misuses words. Using "disinterred" for "dismembered" is not a typo; its a serious flaw. To do it repeatedly is troubling.

This book has the feel of a well-researched piece of writing, as opposed to the tabloid feel many true crime books can have. It's not actually any better than them-quite the opposite-but it seems like its much better. I'm not sure if the author had done so much research he forgot no one else knew all of the information he did. The story of Dr. Petiot is very interesting. I hope someone writes a book worthy of it.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Stacey (new)

Stacey I love the first line of this review!!

Taylor Thank you!

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