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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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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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BookPage Interview

Holly Tucker's City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris tells a story so outlandish, one would be forgiven for thinking the book was historical fiction. But this tale of Parisian witches and possibly murderous noblewomen really did happen, and it rocked the foundation of one of the most powerful monarchies the world has ever...
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Review: Shelf Awareness

"Tucker's exposition is a true detective story of the finest kind....For anyone interested in the darker side of the Sun King's reign, City of Light, City of Poison will not disappoint." "The vivid true story of numerous murders by poison in Paris is set against the backdrop of Louis XIV's lush and sexually active reign."   [button...
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Finished Books Arrive

There are few things more MAGICAL than the day finished copies arrive. Publishers distribute galleys (also called ARCs) in advance of the finished book for reviewers and the media several months before the finished copies go to press. But the day the REAL THING shows up on your doorstep...so exciting! SIGN-UP FOR AUTHOR UPDATES & BOOK GIVEAWAYS Receive regular...
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A letter addressed to Madame Voisin, a 17th-century fortune-teller/witch/poisoner. A young woman begs Voisin to cast a spell on her beloved so he will fall in love with her. Letters at the time were all of one piece. Writers folded their letters to create envelopes and then sealed them with wax. The letter was presented in a secret court hearing as evidence against her....
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