Monday, April 20, 2009

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Crimes of Paris by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler

Crimes of Paris coverGenre: Non-fiction, Crime
Pub Date: April 27th, 2009, Little, Brown & Co.
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Source/FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received and my opinions are my own.
Turn-of-the-century Paris was the beating heart of a rapidly changing world. Painters, scientists, revolutionaries, poets--all were there. But so, too, were the shadows: Paris was a violent, criminal place, its sinister alleyways the haunts of Apache gangsters and its cafes the gathering places of murderous anarchists. In 1911, it fell victim to perhaps the greatest theft of all time--the taking of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. Immediately, Alphonse Bertillon, a detective world-renowned for pioneering crime-scene investigation techniques, was called upon to solve the crime. And quickly the Paris police had a suspect: a young Spanish artist named Pablo Picasso....

MY THOUGHTS

First off, thanks to the kind folks at Hachette Book Group for sending me an advance copy of this book to review! Keep on reading, there's a giveaway to follow the review!

I have to come right out and say that I rarely read nonfictional works, which is a little embarrassing for me to admit, but there you have it. But when I read about The Crimes of Paris I was intrigued and thought I would give it a shot--it would make a great review for Mystery Mondays! My initial reaction: I wish the book was more like what the dust jacket portrays it to be: an account of the true story of the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. That story is there, but it is drawn out through the entire book, along with accounts of other crimes that have tenuous ties (at best) to the theft of the Mona Lisa.

That being said, it was a very interesting read on Paris and its crimes in the early 20th century. Until reading this book, I had no idea that Paris had once been a hotbed of criminal activity, ultimately leading to many advancements in police work and detection coming from the City of Light. To me, that was one of the more interesting aspects of the book, along with the story of the Mona Lisa. One thing I have to say with regards to that theft: it was never clear to me that Picasso was actually a suspect, as the synopsis implies. He was brought in for questioning, but it was in reference to a friend of his that had been arrested.

So, if you are expecting this book to be solely about the theft of the Mona Lisa, you may be disappointed. I found that I grew tired of reading about various criminals and their capers, though some of the stories were certainly more interesting than others. The Crimes of Paris was also an interesting study of the people of Paris in the early 1900's--I never knew how fascinated they were by crime and how much they sympathized with the criminals while distrusting the police. This fascination led to a profusion of literary and dramatic works revolving around crime and detection--this was the era when the true detective stories really began.

3 stars

Other reviews of The Crimes of Paris:

A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore
The Biblio Brat
Books Love Jessica Marie

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

And now for the GIVEAWAY!!

The ever-generous group at Hachette Books is letting me give away FIVE copies of The Crimes of Paris! This copy is open to the U.S. and Canada only, and sorry, no P.O. boxes. You also must be at least 18 years of age to be eligible to enter.

To enter, all you have to do is:
~ Leave a comment with a valid email address
~ For a second entry, become a follower and let me know you are one in the comment below
~ If you are already a follower, let me know--that's TWO additional entries

This contest is open until 11:59pm on Sunday, April 26th. I will let Random.org choose the winners and announce them on Monday, April 27th.

53 comments:

  1. Sounds interesting. Count me in for the giveaway, and I already follow your blog on Google Reader.

    jacketscovers AT yahoo DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  2. As a recent convert to those who love all things Paris, I would love a chance to read this book. I already follow you on Twitter and I'll be tweeting about your contest. Thanks for the honest review of this book. I've got my fingers crossed!

    Jennifer @ The Literate Housewife Review

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would love to read this book. I don't read a lot of non-fiction either, but, when I do, it's usually something crime-related. I especially love seeing how the science of detection has evolved over time.

    I'm already a follower of your blog. :)

    ruth at bookishruth dot com

    ReplyDelete
  4. This sounds like an interesting read.

    I'm already subscribed to your blog. :)

    WordLily at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  5. This sounds like something I would really like. I love stories about crime. :-)

    I would love to enter the drawing! I subscribe to your blog through Google Reader.

    literaryfeline AT gmail DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'd love to win this book. I am already a follower as I found your blog the other day and really like it. Thanks for hosting the giveaway.

    kdhaney (AT) gmail (DoT)com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I want to read - can't enter though being a Brit. You made me laugh with your comment about how much scrapbooking I do. I think I actually buy more than I do and I am sure hubby would agree. I will have to give you a virtual tour of scrap office.

    ReplyDelete
  8. sounds like a wonderful read thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sounds great.
    techyone at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sorry, I meant to simply put my email address. Please delete the above comment
    kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sounds like a great book thank you

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh my! This book sounds fantastic. My favorite genre of books is True Crime & the late 1800's & early 1900's is one of my favorite time periods/eras.

    Thanks for the giveaway, take care!

    ReplyDelete
  13. This book sounds very interesting to me, as I have a fascination with the underbelly of big cities. Thanks for this giveaway!
    sharonanne56[at]yahoo[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sounds like a great read. Please enter me.

    durberville_77(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have this one coming to me and am really excited. I've really grown to love some true crime books (my favorite is Devil in the White City). I'll be sure to keep in mind that there's lots more than just the Mona Lisa to this one.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Looks great! My e-mail address is in my Blogger profile. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for this great giveaway! I would love a chance at reading this book!
    crazywithpets(at)cableone(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sounds like a great read. Thanks for the chance to win!
    1bmore @ gmail . com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sounds like a very good plot. Thanks for the giveaway

    sharr1226 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  20. Sounds like a unique take on events of the time...would love to read this one.

    madamerkf at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Sounds like a good read. Please enter me. Thanks.

    jason.orf(at)sbcglobal.net

    ReplyDelete
  22. I enjoyed your honest review. Thanks. I would like to be entered!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Sounds like a very interesting read! I love Paris, so I would like to learn about the darker side!

    nic0ler917 at aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  24. Looks like a great book. Thanks for the chance

    jason@allworldautomotive.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Looks like an enjoyable read. Enter me, please.
    jwx4(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'd enjoy it
    KawaiiNeko2008 at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  27. I would love to read this. thanks for the giveaway

    ReplyDelete
  28. I would love to read this, it looks wonderful!

    marielay@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am a new follower!

    marielay@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. This sounds like a good book, thanks for the giveaway!

    mattandjen[at]gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  31. I am always interested in historical settings. sharonaquilino(at)hotmail(dot)Com

    ReplyDelete
  32. i'm already intrigued. count me in

    ReplyDelete
  33. On my TBR list and ooo I've been wanting to read this weeshenanigans (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  34. Ooh! This sounds like a great book--thanks for the chance!
    emvark at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  35. Very nice cover!

    sundaygirl at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  36. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me.

    eswright18 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  37. Turn of the century crime methods are fascinating. Have you read the Alienist by Caleb Carr? Enter me please and thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Please include me in your giveaway.
    Thanks
    Debbie
    debdesk9(at)verizon.net

    ReplyDelete
  39. sounds like a good book. I'd be interested in winning a copy of this one

    savvyverseandwit AT gmail Dot com

    I just started reading your blog in google reader.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Please include me in your giveaway.
    Thanks
    debbie
    debdesk9(at)verizon.net

    ReplyDelete
  41. I am a follower.
    Thanks
    debbie
    debdesk9(at)verizon.net

    ReplyDelete
  42. I would love to win a copy of this book!! Thanks for a great contest!!

    stoland at ameritech dot net

    ReplyDelete
  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Don't have a blogger account but I follow on twitter. (bookaliciouspam) would love to have a go at reading this book.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I would enjoy this book!
    Thanks fo offering the giveaway=)

    Luvdaylilies at bellsouth dot net

    ReplyDelete
  46. Well, I am glad you twitted about this because I would have missed it otherwise!

    I would LOVE to be entered in this contest.

    I have been a follower for quite sometime :)

    Mstermind1 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  47. I'd love to read this!
    quelleheure4[at]gmail{dot}com

    ReplyDelete
  48. I just started following you!
    quelleheure4[at]gmail{dot}com

    ReplyDelete
  49. I love historical and historical fiction novels. This is one of the books I would really enjoy.
    seknobloch(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete

This blog does not use CAPTCHA, please comment freely! However, I have had to disable the "Anonymous" commenting feature since the spammers are just out of control. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment -- I love to hear what you think! Feedback and discussion are always welcome. Happy reading :-)