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Palace of Justice (Aristide Ravel - author's suggested reading order #2)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  107 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews

Louis XVI is in his grave, and Marie-Antoinette is on her way to trial. Paris is hungry, restless, and fearful in the autumn of 1793, and the guillotine’s blade is beginning to fall daily on the necks of enemies of the French Republic. Not even members of the Republican government are safe from the threat of the Revolutionary Tribunal, where the only sentence for the guilt

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 23rd 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published November 2010)
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Richard Derus
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This all-but-5-star rave has been revised and can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.

Seriously. Just go get one and read it!
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Every crime fiction story is rooted in an individual history. My favourites have their origin in historical fiction – a genre for which I have a great weakness. I am delighted to have discovered Susanne Alleyn and her protagonist Aristide Ravel lurking around the uneasy streets of post-revolutionary Paris. Alleyn’s writing is clear and economical. The best historical fiction writers make the past accessible by preserving the humanity of their characters and this she does to a tee. I read this bo ...more
A really well done mystery. I only wish Aristide's personal life could pick up a little bit (he has no personal life to speak of).
The Just-About-Average Ms M
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A Tale of Two Revolutions

As a reader who has thus far found only dreck masquerading as historical fiction about the French Revolution, I despaired that anyone other than the rather dense Hilary Mantel would ever get it right. Beginning with the abysmal Tale of Two Cities [I don’t care if people think Dickens is a literary icon not to be disparaged—he got the entire Revolution wrong, and peopled it with saccharine characters], and the smarmy and ridiculous Scarlet Pimpernel, and on and on through
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Even better than the first (chronologically) in the series, Palace of Justice engages the reader further into the pursuits of Aristide Ravel. While perhaps less sensational than the story line of Cavalier, I enjoyed this story more as it incorporated tangible elements of the Revolution into the mysterious deaths Ravel aims to solve. I adore how Alleyn is able to humanize the characters on her pages in a way that the reader feels a personal connection (or abhorence!) to each one. [I hate that Rav ...more
First Sentence: “God help me,” Désirée said to herself, as she tried to ignore the dull, persistent ache of her empty stomach, “I cannot even earn a living as a whore.”

While the guillotine is hard at work in Paris, someone is performing their own executions. Seemingly random victims of beheadings are being found in Paris. Aristide Revel, an investigator for the police, is concerned about the fate of his arrested friends, including one from childhood. In the meantime, he must find a killer.

Zuzana Urbanek
Apr 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wishlist
4.5 stars.
It's no secret that I adore this series. Alleyn has done a masterfully creative job of integrating a well-paced series of intricate mysteries into the politically vibrant and sensually dismal period of post-Revolution Paris. You can see, smell, and taste the teeming streets and cloying chambers as brooding pseudo-detective Aristide Ravel makes his way through suspects and informants, burdened with such oppressive baggage of his own that we sometimes wonder if he’ll wind up on the othe
Oct 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This the fourth book of the Aristide Ravel historical mystery series but second as far as chronology within the stories goes. Though I loved loved loved The Cavalier of the Apocalypse (third written; first in chronology), and very much enjoyed A Treasury of Regrets and Game of Patience, this one ~ Palace of Justice ~ is my favorite! Ms. Alleyn's really hit her stride with this one!

The mystery portions of Palace are clever and twisty, though I thought it less a whodunnit than a procedural couple
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
This review was for The Historical Novel Society in 2010, for their great magazine, Historical Novel Society Review, a quarterly that you get with membership:

October 1793, Paris: Marie-Antoinette is on her way to the guillotine and police investigator Aristide Ravel realizes that a headless body, found by the Palais-Égalité (that was and is the Palais-Royal, across from the Louvre), is only one of many beheaded corpses being deposited around the city. A freelance decapitator is at work, “barbari
Gail Cooke
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing

A childhood fascination with the French Revolution which grew into a life long exploration of that subject has become a boon for readers of historical fiction with Susanne Alleyn’s Aristide Ravel series. The fourth story to feature Ravel is deemed by many to be her best, and we tend to agree.

It is the autumn of 1793 when Paris is torn asunder by fear, hunger, and distrust Madame Guillotine is kept busy - beheading the Queen as well as any and all who run afoul of the Revolutionary Tribunal for
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: french-rev
The Palace of Justice was so much better than the previous book in the Aristide Ravel mystery series (The Cavalier of the Apocalypse)! This time the mystery was interesting, and more believable and realistic than in the first book (although sometimes I still grasped the thruth before our fine inspector - don't you just hate that?). Also Ravel finally seemed flesh and blood, which adds a new dimension to the series (I wish Brasseur wasn't so inconsequential though). I loved the political referenc ...more
Mary G.
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
An excellent story about the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Alleyn provides what appears to be indeph view of the people involved. Ravel is an interesting character and the plot is very good. It was interesting to see how Alleyn incorporated a murderer who left headless corpses and the result of death sentence utilizing Madame Guillotine. One of Alleyn's very best.
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was hooked from the opening sentence to the very end. Ravel never ceases to fascinate me. A would be prostitute is murdered in a manner most likely to cause trouble for those in power. But this isn't a sweeping story of the French Revolution, it is far more personal.
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
It was great! I loved how all the characters tied together!
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Heavy consideration of politics and justice in France after the revolution. Good mystery.
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
October 1793 Paris and the first decapitated body is found. An police agent Ravel is instructed to quietly determine the murderer. Difficult when there seems to be no pattern to the killings. And with the backdrop of the continuing revolution, regicide, and the mass guillotining of people for minor crimes.
Immensely satisfying read (and in places sad), with characters wonderfully drawn out.
Towards the end of the 1700s, the French Revolution has overthrown the monarchy and introduced many a royalist to Madame Guillotine and the executioners who keep her well oiled and sharpened. The Revolutionary Tribunal passes more and more death sentences on all unfortunate enough to be found guilty when they are brought before them.

In Paris, Marie Antoinette's trial looms and headless corpses are being dumped around Paris. There is a serial killer lose among the citizens, one who appears to ch
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
The French Revolution was a crucial turning point in the history of the western world. It marked the transition from aristocratic rule to democracy. This was not an easy step but one full of violence and cruelty.

Palace of Justice portrays this struggle dramatically through the eyes of one police investigator who has a greater sense of justice than the revolutionary government or the courts.

A serial killer is loose in Paris seemingly killing and beheading his victims at random. But Aristide is d
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Historical Mystery set at the height of the French Revolution 1793 #2 in the Aristide Ravel series

Headless corpses are being found littered in the streets of Paris that have nothing to do with the guillotine.

Out of the 4 books in the series, this one is my favorite by far. There are so many plots and subplots and the mystery seems to thicken at every corner. You can tell this novel was very well researched. Alleyn does a superb job at creating the climate of uncertainty where anyone can literall
Dec 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book in a First Reads giveaway.

My first impression was hesitation, as there was a glossary of terms up front. It was helpful, but I prefer not to have to interpret what I am reading. I liked the story, although some of the character roles remain a bit fuzzy for me. Loved the history. I will likely read more by the author.
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Aristide Ravel returns in the second of the series. This time he is hunting for a serial killer during the bloody turmoil of "The Terror" in post revolutionary France.

As an aside, it amazes me how many similarities there are between the French and Russian Revolutions.
Megan Richardson
Sep 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
I know I should've know this going in, but it was just way too French. I didn't like any of the characters and the storyline wasn't good enough to hook me. I didn't finish it.
Sep 11, 2011 rated it liked it
so far, so good

interesting mystery takes place just after the French Revolution, so I learned quite a bit about that, of which I basically know nothing!
Nov 30, 2010 marked it as to-read
Thank you Goodreads First Reads for this free copy to read. Waiting to recieve it.
rated it really liked it
Dec 27, 2016
Gurfateh Singh
rated it it was amazing
Sep 29, 2016
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Dec 14, 2010
Mary Codd
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May 04, 2011
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Feb 15, 2011
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Nov 01, 2014
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The granddaughter of children’s author Lillie V. Albrecht (author of Deborah Remembers, The Spinning Wheel Secret, and three other historicals, all now available for Kindle), Susanne Alleyn definitely doesn’t write for children, unless, like her, they have found guillotines, high drama, and the French Revolution fascinating since the age of ten or so.

Susanne grew up in Massachusetts and New York C
More about Susanne Alleyn...

Other Books in the Series

Aristide Ravel - author's suggested reading order (4 books)
  • The Cavalier of the Apocalypse (Aristide Ravel, #1)
  • Game of Patience (Aristide Ravel, #3)
  • A Treasury of Regrets (Aristide Ravel, #4)