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“A tale as twisted as any Agatha Christie murder mystery.”

—Deborah Blum—
Author of The Poisoner’s Handbook

The granddaughter of French immigrants and Professor of French History at Vanderbilt University, Holly Tucker writes extensively on true crime in early Europe. She lives in both Nashville, Tennessee and Aix-en-Provence, France, chronicling her adventures in the South and the South of France in her journal along the way.

Holly’s most recent book, City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris (W.W. Norton), follows the first police chief, Nicolas de la Reynie, as he works tirelessly to root out organized crime in the city only to find a cabal of poisoners, witches, and unholy priests whose dark works go all the way to the gilded halls of Louis XIV’s Versailles. From La Reynie’s personal notes, interrogation records, torture accounts, and other memoirs comes an unforgettable true account of wicked deeds and dark souls in the City of Light.


Receive regular updates from Holly with a behind-the-scenes look at life in France, research, and book publishing. In the lead-up to the release, Holly’s publisher will also be giving away copies of City of Light, City of Poison.

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 “Full of danger, mystery, and excitement, it will keep you up well into the night, marveling at this forgotten world of dark intrigue.”

Candice Millard
Author of Hero of the Empire

“At once bewitching and chilling, the dark story of toxic intrigue, murder, and mayhem in the Sun King’s France reads like the most gripping thriller, thanks to Holly Tucker’s storytelling flair and relentless research.”

Adrienne Mayor
Author of The Poison King

“With novelist verve, Holly Tucker conjures a fierce tale of conspiracy and retribution.”

Michael Sims
Author of Arthur and Sherlock

“A meticulous historian”

The Economist

Blood Work

Set in seventeenth-century London and Paris, Blood Work (W.W. Norton, 2011) is a story of political infighting, professional backstabbing, and the struggle to control the most powerful commodity in seventeenth-century Europe:  knowledge.

Ingenious, engaging, and disquieting…Tucker masterfully narrates a rich tale about the competing passions of faith, politics, and knowledge.” (Boston Globe)

Pregnant Fictions

How male medical authorities and female literary authors struggled to describe the inner workings of the unseen – and competed to shape public understanding of it – is the focus of this engaging work by Holly Tucker. In illuminating the gender politics . . .

Tucker does exemplary cultural history…this is a book from which any scholar with an interest in the tales of magic and gender can learn.” (Journal of American Folklore)

General Contact Information

W.W. Norton LogoMedia Inquiries
Erin Lovett, Publicity Director
EMAIL | 212-790-4388

Literary Agent
Faith Hamlin
Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
EMAIL | 212.206.5663

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Explore Holly's Journal

Home Is Where the Baguettes Are

I have the same routine every Sunday morning when I’m at “La Petite Maison,” our little house in the hillsides of Aix-en-Provence.  The sun wakes me up as it climbs over horizon and into the bedroom windows.  I linger for awhile and wonder whether I really, truly want to go out on such a peaceful weekend morning. But then I think about the croissants.  Those gorgeous...
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Place Matters

I have always loved maps. As a child, a tattered Rand McNally book of maps was all that I needed to entertain me on family road trips. I liked to track where we were heading, where we had been, and all of the places we had yet to be. I also marveled at how a simple turn of the map’s orientation brought new perspectives. Is there such a thing as reading a map upside down?...
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Looking for Louis

I’ve had many people ask me why a girl from the cornfields of Illinois would have a passion – no, obsession – for life in 17th century France. The first part of the answer is easy, actually. My paternal grandmother’s family was French; she was truly my kindred spirit. Une âme soeur, a sister soul, as they say in French. The second part of the answer – the part...
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