The New Yorker Review

“blends an artful reconstruction of seventeenth-century Paris with riveting storytelling, presenting a contest between terror and surveillance that has strong contemporary resonances”

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Jezebel Review by Kelly Faircloth

“the book reads like law and order: 17th century Parisian poisoners unit.”

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Newsday Review by Thad Cahart

“a classic whodunit, bringing alive an extremely complicated and baffling series of events.”

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New York Journal of Books Review by Jonah Raskin

“holly tucker tells [this] story . . . with great gusto and with an amazing array of facts.”

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Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“vividly brings to life a slice of parisian history in this rigorously researched true-crime epic…reads like a combination of the most compelling mystery fiction and dumas’s romances of twisted court intrigues.”

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Candice Millard Review, Author of Hero of the Empire

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

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Booklist Review

“completely absorbing.”

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Shelf Awareness Review

““Tucker’s exposition is a true detective story of the finest kind.”

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CITY OF LIGHT, CITY OF POISON

Appointed to conquer the “crime capital of the world,” the first police chief of Paris faces an epidemic of murder in the late 1600s. Assigned by Louis XIV, Nicolas de La Reynie begins by clearing the streets of filth and installing lanterns throughout Paris, turning it into the City of Light.

The fearless La Reynie pursues criminals through the labyrinthine neighborhoods of the city. He unearths a tightly knit cabal of poisoners, witches, and renegade priests. As he exposes their unholy work, he soon learns that no one is safe from black magic—not even the Sun King. In a world where a royal glance can turn success into disgrace, the distance between the quietly back-stabbing world of the king’s court and the criminal underground proves disturbingly short. Nobles settle scores by employing witches to craft poisons and by hiring priests to perform dark rituals in Paris’s most illustrious churches and cathedrals.

As La Reynie continues his investigations, he is haunted by a single question: Could Louis’s mistresses could be involved in such nefarious plots? The pragmatic and principled La Reynie must decide just how far he will go to protect his king.

From secret courtrooms to torture chambers, City of Light, City of Poison is a gripping true-crime tale of deception and murder. Based on thousands of pages of court transcripts and La Reynie’s compulsive note-taking, as well as on letters and diaries, Tucker’s riveting narrative makes the fascinating, real-life characters breathe on the page.

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EMAIL | 212-790-4388

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

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The New Yorker Reviews City of Light!

CITY OF LIGHT, CITY OF POISON, by Holly Tucker (Norton). In 1667, Louis XIV, hoping to reduce crime in Paris, created a law-enforcement position—the lieutenant general of police—with sweeping powers of surveillance and detention. Tucker’s history focusses on the first incumbent, Nicolas de la Reynie, who built up a network of informants and discovered more than he’d...
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Authors Revealed Interview with Becky Anderson of NCTV17

Join host Becky Anderson as she talks to author Holly Tucker about her new book, City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris. Appointed to conquer the “crime capital of the world,” the first police chief of Paris faces an epidemic of murder in the late 1600s. Assigned by Louis XIV, Nicolas de La Reynie begins by clearing the streets...
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Paris Was a Great Place to Get Poisoned in the 17th Century

In 1667, Paris was a filthy crime-ridden mess, and Nicolas de La Reynie was the man hired to clean it up. As Holly Tucker tells it in City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic and the First Police Chief of Paris, the state of the capital made the would-be glorious Sun King of France, Louis XIV, look bad, and he wanted it fixed. And so La Reynie was installed as...
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Barnes & Nobel Reviews City of Light!

The array of culprits and the goggling audience alike ranged from the most glittering members of France’s aristocracy to Paris’s dregs. That’s one reason the bizarre chain of events that kept France intermittently on edge and in a tizzy from 1670 to 1682, retold with verve by Holly Tucker in City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of...
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New York Journal of Books Reviews City of Light

One can always trust the police to be dogged and to keep voluminous records, though they’re not always accurate. Holly Tucker was able to write her new book—City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic and the First Police Chief of Paris—because Nicholas de La Reynie, the French top cop, keep his own records of his investigations into criminal matters in the 17th...
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