The Bones of Paris
by Laurie R. King
published by Bantam Books
September 10, 2013
I received an advance ebook through Net Galley in return for an honest review.
Paris, France; September, 1929. For Harris Stuyvesant, the assignment is a private investigator’s dream—he’s getting paid to troll the cafés and bars of Montparnasse, looking for a pretty young woman. The American agent has a healthy appreciation for la vie Bohème, despite having worked for years at the U.S. Bureau of Investigation. The missing person in question is Philippa Crosby, a twenty-two year old from Boston who has been living in Paris, modeling and acting. Her family became alarmed when she stopped all communications, and Stuyvesant agreed to track her down. He wholly expects to find her in the arms of some up-and-coming artist, perhaps experimenting with the cocaine that is suddenly available on every rue andboulevard.
As Stuyvesant follows Philippa’s trail through the thriving, decadent ex-patriate community of artists and writers, he finds that she is known to many of its famous—and infamous—inhabitants, from Shakespeare & Co’s Sylvia Beach to the Surrealist photographer Man Ray. But when the evidence leads Stuyvesant to the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Montmartre, his investigation takes a sharp, disturbing turn. At the Grand-Guignol, murder, insanity, and sexual perversion are all staged to brutal effect in short, gut-churning acts. Depravity as art; savage human nature on stage.
Soon, it becomes clear that one missing girl is a drop in the bucket. Here, amid the glittering lights of the cabarets, hides a monster whose artistic coup de grace is to be rendered in blood and gore. And Stuyvesant will have to descend into the darkest depths of perversion to find a killer . . . sifting through The Bones of Paris. (from http://www.laurierking.com)
When I requested this book, I thought-ok, fun little mystery. WRONG! It was so much more. There is the mystery, but it is wrapped in amazing layers of history! The author makes you feel as if you are looking directly into Paris at the end of the 1920’s. She introduces you to real people of the era-painter, singers, and authors. As the main character, Harris Stuyvesant, searches the city for a young missing American, we meet and hang out with the famous artist Man Ray, singers Brictkop and Josephine Baker, along with Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, and Kiki of Montparnasse. It is an intricate story, that unfolds slowly, but I found myself unable to go slowly, instead plowing on ahead even when I wanted to take a break. I loved the way the author brought me right into the different neighborhoods of Paris in 1929. You can hear the Jazz and taste the champagne right along with Harris. As Harris comes to grips with the starkness of the Surrealist and Dada movements and the horror of the Grand-Guignol, you are right there also.
I really recommend this book-while it had some pretty intense parts, it was a fast read and kept my interest the entire time. I really didn’t want it to end. I hope the author, who also wrote The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (which is now on my TBR list), writes more books with these characters and in this setting.
4.5 out of 5