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Harris Stuyvesant will have to descend into the darkest depths of perversion to find a killer . . . sifting through The Bones of Paris. Watch for excerpts and contests this summer, or sign up for the LRK newsletter for updates.
ISBN: 9780345531766 Signed Editions available from Bookshop Santa Cruz or Poisoned Pen Bookstore. Explore the world of 1929 Paris via: * Take a look at the Pinterest board, or create your own for a chance to win an iPad mini preloaded with all of LRK’s books, thanks to Bantam and Picador Books! * A movie based on The Bones of Paris * A map of Harris Stuyvesant’s Paris * Read an excerpt
Paris, France; September, 1929. For Harris Stuyvesant, the assignment is a private investigator’s dream—he’s getting paid to troll the cafés and bars of Montparnasse, looking for a pretty young woman. The American agent has a healthy appreciation for la vie Bohème, despite having worked for years at the U.S. Bureau of Investigation. The missing person in question is Philippa Crosby, a twenty-two year old from Boston who has been living in Paris, modeling and acting. Her family became alarmed when she stopped all communications, and Stuyvesant agreed to track her down. He wholly expects to find her in the arms of some up-and-coming artist, perhaps experimenting with the cocaine that is suddenly available on every rue and boulevard. As Stuyvesant follows Philippa’s trail through the thriving, decadent ex-patriate community of artists and writers, he finds that she is known to many of its famous—and infamous—inhabitants, from Shakespeare & Co’s Sylvia Beach to the Surrealist photographer Man Ray. But when the evidence leads Stuyvesant to the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Montmartre, his investigation takes a sharp, disturbing turn. At the Grand-Guignol, murder, insanity, and sexual perversion are all staged to brutal effect in short, gut-churning acts. Depravity as art; savage human nature on stage. Soon, it becomes clear that one missing girl is a drop in the bucket. Here, amid the glittering lights of the cabarets, hides a monster whose artistic coup de grace is to be rendered in blood and gore. And Stuyvesant will have to descend into the darkest depths of perversion to find a killer . . . sifting through The Bones of Paris.
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What They Say
Publishers Weekly Edgar-winner King delivers a sequel to 2008’s Touchstone with this impressive mystery set in 1929 Paris. In the arresting preface, set in Cornwall, Bennett Grey receives a letter from Harris Stuyvesant, his friend but “a man whose motives Grey had reason to distrust,” containing four photographs whose contents are so disturbing that the suicidal Grey burns them immediately. The action then shifts to Paris 10 days earlier, where Stuyvesant, a former FBI man who left on bad terms with Hoover, is trying to trace a missing 22-year-old American woman, Pip Crosby. To the investigator, Crosby is just “one in a string of mostly blonde, mostly young women” who shared his bed, adding a patina of guilt to his inquiries. The trail leads him to a tantalizing mystery involving the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol and artists who use human bones to create their work. Readers will hope to see more of Grey, who is absent for most of this story, and Stuyvesant in future books. Kirkus Reviews calls The Bones of Paris both “decorous and creepy.” Booklist, 9/1/13, starred review King takes a break from her popular Mary Russell series to return to the story of Harris Stuyvesant from Touchstone (2008). Formerly an FBI agent and now a dissolute PI, Harris is still haunted by the events in the earlier book, which left his lover, Sarah, maimed. Needing work, he accepts a missing-persons job that takes him to Paris in 1929 and offers the possibility of reuniting with Sarah. Fans of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris will feel right at home in the Jazz Age Paris setting, though many of the famous Lost Generation figures are portrayed in a much less flattering light here, (artist Man Ray, in particular, is a misogynist and murder suspect). The story is complex, more than a little kinky, and absolutely fascinating. The missing girl Harris seeks turns out to be only one of many missing persons who came into the orbit of a group of offbeat Parisian artists whose credo demands that art be visceral. Could the infamous Moreau, who creates tableaux using human bones to suggest the corruption of the flesh be somehow connected to the missing young people? Harris noses about through familiar Left Bank haunts, encountering the era’s usual suspects (Hemingway, Sylvia Beach, Cole Porter, and Josephine Baker, among them), but beyond the cameos and the bohemian atmosphere, there is a compelling thriller here and some fascinating fictional characters to go with the real-life ones. As always with King, the plot is tricky but marvelously constructed, delivering twists that not only surprise but also deepen the story and its multiple levels of meaning. Break out that dusty bottle of absinthe you have stored away and settle in for a treat.
What I Read
These are books I found particularly useful in writing The Bones of Paris, and would recommend for anyone interested in the Expat community of 20s Paris. In no particular order: Bricktop, James Haskins Memoirs of Montparnasse, John Glassco That Summer in Paris, Morley Callaghan A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway Paris Was Yesterday, Janet Flanner Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation, Noel Riley Fitch Paris, the Secret History, Andrew Hussey Self Portrait, Man Ray Man Ray, American Artist, Neil Baldwin The Grand Guignol, Mel Gordon Paris Was a Woman, Andrea Weiss Paris Between the Wars, 1919-1929, Vincent Bouvet & Gerard Durozoi Wild Girls, Diana Souhami Geniuses Together, Humphrey Carpenter Man Ray/Lee Miller, Partners in Surrealism, Phillip Prodger Kiki’s Memoirs, Alice Prin Paris Underground, Caroline Archer This Must be the Place, Jimmie Charts and Morrill Cody McAlmon and the Lost Generation, Robert Knoll Surrealism and the Art of Crime, Jonathan P. Eburne Paris Was a Woman, Andrea Weiss Grand-Guignol, Richard Hand and Michael Wilson Down and Out in London and Paris, George Orwell What is Remembered, Alice Toklas Paris France, Gertrude Stein Grand Guignol, Frederick Witney