A Time Travelers Notebook by Author Holly Tucker

Paris Was a Great Place to Get Poisoned in the 17th Century

Apr 12, 2017 | Interviews, Media, Reviews

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 lieutenant general of police and assigned to get the crime under control. The book tracks his efforts, beginning with fairly straightforward measures like lighting the streets. But gradually he realized he faced a bigger case. Imagine one of those complex modern multi-agency investigations involving violent motorcycle gangs with their fingers in narcotics and illegal weapons and God knows what else, but swap in rogue midwives, fortune-tellers, dodgy priests—and poisoners. The book reads like Law and Order: 17th Century Parisian Poisoners Unit.

La Reynie discovered that there was a neighborhood where you could go if you wanted face-whitening creams, love potions, abortions, or even a little something to make your husband drop dead. And it wasn’t just local women shopping for these services, either—sometimes it was women of the court and perhaps even mistresses of Louis XIV himself. The further La Reynie dug, the more gruesome the allegations became. How high did the Affair of the Poisons go? Was the King himself in danger?

 

READ FULL ARTICLE

0 Comments

SIGN-UP FOR UPDATES & GIVEAWAYS

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.

* indicates required

Purchase City of Light, City of Poison

Purchase your copy of City of Light, City of Poison and get an exclusive gift pack for a limited time!

1.) Early access to chapters from City of Light, City of Poison, chosen just for folks who purchase early
2.) A Q&A with Holly: the Story Behind the Story
3.) A Personalized Bookplate to put in your copy of the book

Better yet: Support Independent Bookstores! Order from Parnassus Books and Holly will sign the book personally. (Be sure to include inscription instructions in the comments section of your order.)

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

Holly Tucker Facebook     Holly Tucker Twitter      Holly Tucker Author Instagram     Holly Tucker Google+           Email Author Holly Tucker

Message Holly

13 + 10 =

Explore Holly's Journal

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

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...
Read More
Share This
City of Light, City of Poison Cover

SIGN-UP FOR AUTHOR UPDATES & BOOK GIVEAWAYS

Receive regular updates from Holly with a behind-the-scenes look at life in France, research, and book publishing.

You have Successfully Subscribed!