It’s Monday, so it’s time for MEMORABLE MONDAY BOOK REVIEW, where I review one of my favorite books. Today’s book is “The Crimes of Paris” written by husband and wife writing team, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler.
I love books allowing me to travel back in time. Add detective stories, art and Paris and I’m swooning. The Crimes of Paris is about the crimes that took place in Paris from the late 1800’s to the beginning of World War I. An intriguing tale of the darker side of a city, hums with a cast of characters, from artists, anarchists and aristocrats to street thieves and the foremost crime detection pioneers. The theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911 initially draws you in, but the remaining part of the book deals with several murders, detectives and street gangs. Along with the several French revolutions during the 19th century, came changes to its urban landscape. Changes in technology and scientific thinking enabled the police to solve crimes that had previous remained unsolved.
The book’s strength lies in its descriptions of other famous and not so famous crimes. We’re introduced to a host of historical figures: Vidocq, France’s first real detective; Bertillon, who developed the science of anthropometry; Picasso, who was accused of stealing the Mona Lisa, (although he wasn’t anywhere near the scene of the crime); the Bonnot gang, anarchists who were the first to escape the scenes of their crimes via car and more.
A minor negative of the book is the vaguely linked connections between the Mona Lisa theft and the other described crimes.
The book is so mesmerizing that I read it in three evenings. I couldn’t sleep until I finished it. Hopefully, it will have the same effect on you.
Fun Fact: In 2001, Tom Hoobler (who co-authored the book with his wife) appeared on the TV show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and with help from his wife (who was his phone-a-friend) he won $500,000. The Hooblers used part of the money to spend a month traveling in Italy and decided to use the rest to try to write a book for adults.