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City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris
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October 2017: Society > City of Light City of Poison, Magic, Murder and the First Police Chief of Paris - 4 stars

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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8845 comments I found this quite fascinating. Set in the days of Louis the XIV, Paris was a shambles, and the first Police Chief La Reynie comes into power, to try to establish order in the area. One of his first tasks to fight crime, is to pull the city from darkness. He establishes street lamps throughout the city, that burn all night, and makes the earliest police responsible for these - thus, Paris was named the City of Light. But under his reign, La Reynie kept documents and papers related to years of the Affairs of the Poisons. Mistresses of the king, fortune tellers, magic black sabbath ceremonies, the creation of poisons. It was quite a tale, well researched, and read like fiction. I really enjoyed it, and never knew much about Paris's history of the dark arts. It was a worthy non-fiction read.

I am choosing not to consider this an October "Fall Flurry" book, as while it had a spooky and eerie air, and certainly a dark and sinister tone, Halloween is an American construct, and doesn't feel like it fits in at all with early France. Although the lighting of the women on fire as execution, seemed an awful lot like Salem, and there was a connection to women performing magic and spells, this was early Paris. Now that I think about it, this could fit into "society" as a tag, as this was the setting up of a city and its first law and order, and much had to do with how people behaved and acted to preserve societal norms, particularly those of the court.


AsimovsZeroth (asimovszerothlaw) | 436 comments Well, you've convinced me. Another book to add to the ever expanding to read shelf. This book sounds fascinating! I'm a sucker for history and I believe I may have read something about Chief La Reynie in Will Durant's Story of Civilization series, his story sounds vaguely familiar, sparked my curiosity at the time, but I never got around to any further reading. Completely forgot about La Reynie until now. Sounds like this will be my kind of crack. Thanks for the review!


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