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A Treasury Of Regrets : A Mystery Hardcover – Apr 17 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (April 17 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031234371X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312343712
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.4 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,442,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The chaotic days following the French Revolution form the backdrop for this absorbing sequel to 2006's The Game of Patience, Alleyn's third novel, in which police spy Aristide Ravel and Commissaire Brasseur explore the various motives and opportunities of the Dupont family after their patriarch is poisoned. The late Monsieur Dupont's widowed daughter-in-law enlists the two Paris policemen when the family's servant girl, Jeannette Moineau, is accused of the poisoning—a charge Mademoiselle Dupont considers absurd. The investigation moves forward, but another death soon follows. With a light, literate hand, Alleyn includes a wealth of detail about life in France during the Republican period, while ratcheting up the tension with every chapter. Fans of Charles O'Brien (Mute Witness) and Baroness Orczy (The Scarlet Pimpernel) will be delighted. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Two points pertinent to this novel cannot be argued against: mystery novels set in the historical past are in vogue, and historical novels set in the closing years of France's ancien regime and during the Revolution are equally so. This author's newest installment in her mystery series taps again into both hot genres. She takes as her sleuth one Aristide Ravel, who is an unofficial investigator for the police department, enjoying a "modestly profitable career" helping to solve crimes--other people would call him, and do call him, an informer. That the reader is in the hands of an author interested in immaculate historical detail and accuracy is evidenced from page 1, which starts on the sixteenth of Ventose, a month in France's new revolutionary calendar. The police have taken into custody a young servant girl accused by the family who employs her of poisoning the family patriarch. Determining her guilt or innocence is the objective in this traditionally plotted and atmospheric whodunit. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Since the twenty-fourth of Frimaire, Aristide Ravel had dreamed at least a dozen times of the guillotine. Read the first page
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Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: Since the twenty-fourth of Frimaire, Aristide Ravel had dreamed at least a dozen times of the guillotine.

It begins with the poisoning death of Martin Dupont, the controlling head of a large household. A servant girl, Jeannette Moineau, is arrested. A member of the house, Laurence, asks the police for help as she does not believe the girl is guilty. Police investigator Aristide Ravel agrees to work with her, also discovering there is another link between them from the past. As others die, Ravel continues to search for motive believing if he finds the motive, he'll find the killer.

Ms. Alleyn does know how to bring Paris post-Revolution alive. Best of all, we come to know the period from the characters; their memories, the awkwardness in speech tying to confirm to the new forms of address, the new calendar and the challenges living day-to-day. It is enough past the Revolution that there is not the high level of fear, but recent enough that you sense people's uncertainty.

Aristide is a complex and interesting character yet, although his back story was provided, he never really came to life. In spite of the personal connection between him and Laurence, I sensed a chemistry or emotional connection. Even at the end, rather than being left with a sense of curiosity, I found I didn't particularly need to know what happens. For the other characters, perhaps because there were so many of them, none of them were well developed.

The story had a very powerful opening. There was fascinating information provided on the different figures involved in the Revolution, and the impact on the monetary structure. The plot, however, was very slow until about half-way through.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Alleyn just gets Better! July 1 2007
By Erin Bulman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Anticipating the second book of a series for me is like riding a
roller-coaster between high hopes and lows of remembered
disappointments. Happily, Alleyn's second historical mystery
featuring Aristide Ravel fulfills the former - it's a terrific book,
easily as good as GAME OF PATIENCE, maybe even better.
Pace, voice, dialogue, narrative are all beautifully done.

The fact is, I am a big fan of police procedurals, with
a pretty sceptical attitude toward historical mysteries. Why? Too
often, an author loses the main plot/story in an attempt to
recreate the setting of another time. On and on they go about the
details of an unpaved street, the people on the street, the quaint
habits, the colorful dress, the inconveniences... until the reader
can't remember why we are on the street in the first place. Alleyn's
talent is that she recreates the time IN the characters of her story,
not in describing their setting in excruciating detail. It is in
their views and reactions to events that the reader gains a
vivid insight into, in this case, the period in France shortly after
the French Revolution. The Place de la Concorde comes alive
through Aristide's reaction to the death of a dear friend on the
guillotine. There's another great example in the first scene where
we learn that Aristide is either an agent of the police, a police spy
or an informer... or maybe just a friend of the commissaire, through
the eyes of people of that time. (And, it recaps vital info about the
previous book without giving any of that story away. That's good
writing.)

Roughly, the story begins with the death of the head of a seemingly
well-off family, and the accusation and arrest of a simple servant
girl who is accused not only of the murder but of attempting to
poison the whole family (despite the complete lack of motive).
Alleyn weaves a twisty, fascinating narrative filled with lots of
secrets, more deaths in the family, and great scenes as Aristide
searches for the truth. I was often surprised, often guessed wrong,
and loved the terrific ending. All in all, a real winner.
Very Highly Recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A page-turner historical mystery July 19 2007
By Mystery Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Appropriately (although accidentally), I began reading A Treasury of Regrets on Bastille Day. Aside from being a fine procedural with interesting plot twists, it is a fascinating look into post-revolutionary Paris. Alleyn gives us a taste of some of the sub-cultures of Parisian life which we never learned about in school. The characters live and breathe, and Alleyn communicates a real feel for the kind of political correctness which was necessary to survive that period in history.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Well worth reading. Dec 27 2011
By J. OCONNOR - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of a series of mysteries about the 'French Revolution. Suzane Alleyn is an excellent writer and has evidently done considerable research on the Revolution and the Reign of Terror. Aristide Ravel is a "consultant" to the police when interesting crimes need to be investigated. He is tortured by the loss of his best friend in the Terror. Because he is not part of the police many people regard him as just an informer so he is not treated with much respect. All the books are well plotted and well written. The outcomes are usually surprising and upsetting.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
fascinating historical mystery April 21 2007
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In 1797, the people are trying to form a republic to replace the dead monarchy. Police spy Aristide Ravel is at the jail when Laurence Faueconnet, the widow of revolutionary Aurele, arrives complaining that the police arrested her domestic servant Jeannette Moineau for killing her father-in-law, Monsieur Dupont. He became ill after eating a meal she served and arsenic was found in her room. Laurence doubts the girl could have hatched and carried out the plan.

Magdeline, the daughter of the late Dupont, does her best to convince the police that the servant murdered her papa. Aristide questions Jeannette and concludes the girl is innocent while someone within the Dupont family killed the deceased miserly patriarch. He questions the household and deems the victim's other daughter Charlotte knows more than she is saying. When he finds a family member hanging from a rope, he knows the murderer has struck again. Aristide believes everyone had a motive to see Dupont dead and the second victim as collateral damage. He plans to find out who and why.

A TREASURY OF REGRET is a fascinating historical mystery set in France just after the Revolution as readers see how the people adapt to the changes that came about. Aristide is an interesting character who cares that justice is served as he goes out of his way to prove the servant is innocent even when the legal system tries to guillotine his case with a fast fix. Susanne Alleyn provides a great tale that brings to life late eighteenth century France during a troubling fledgling attempt to legalize a fair justice system.

Harriet Klausner
Some good elements, but not as engrossing as the previous book May 12 2010
By L. J. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: Since the twenty-fourth of Frimaire, Aristide Ravel had dreamed at least a dozen times of the guillotine.

It begins with the poisoning death of Martin Dupont, the controlling head of a large household. A servant girl, Jeannette Moineau, is arrested. A member of the house, Laurence, asks the police for help as she does not believe the girl is guilty. Police investigator Aristide Ravel agrees to work with her, also discovering there is another link between them from the past. As others die, Ravel continues to search for motive believing if he finds the motive, he'll find the killer.

Ms. Alleyn does know how to bring Paris post-Revolution alive. Best of all, we come to know the period from the characters; their memories, the awkwardness in speech tying to confirm to the new forms of address, the new calendar and the challenges living day-to-day. It is enough past the Revolution that there is not the high level of fear, but recent enough that you sense people's uncertainty.

Aristide is a complex and interesting character yet, although his back story was provided, he never really came to life. In spite of the personal connection between him and Laurence, I sensed a chemistry or emotional connection. Even at the end, rather than being left with a sense of curiosity, I found I didn't particularly need to know what happens. For the other characters, perhaps because there were so many of them, none of them were well developed.

The story had a very powerful opening. There was fascinating information provided on the different figures involved in the Revolution, and the impact on the monetary structure. The plot, however, was very slow until about half-way through. As we progressed, I felt there was a rather too convenient twist and huge leaps in logic made to bring us to the proper conclusions.

In spite of the positive elements, and there were some, I did not find this book as engrossing as the previous books in the series. Had this been the first book I'd read of this series, I might not read another. Fortunately, I have read the other two books and loved them. I have great hopes that the next book will restore my faith in this author.

A TREASURY OF REGRETS (Hist Mys- Aristide Ravel-France-1797) - Okay
Alleyn, Susanne - 3rd in series (2nd published)
Thomas Dunne Books, ©2007, US Hardcover - ISBN: 9780312343712


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