The Paris Enigma: A Novel Hardcover – Nov 4 2008
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“Luminous...a tightly spun thriller...Mr. De Santis effortlessly incorporates important historical events (the building of the tower and the World’s Fair) into his narrative, as well as capturing the turn-of-the-century uneasiness over the emergence of the machine age.” (Wall Street Journal)
“[An] outstanding puzzler. . . . De Santis adroitly explores such issues as the difference between image and reality while providing intelligent and entertaining discussions of alternate approaches to detection.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“[A] beguiling historical whodunit . .. .” (New York Times Book Review)
From the Back Cover
In the tradition of The Alienist and The Devil in the White City comes a gripping, atmospheric tale of murder and the art of crime solving.
Paris, 1889: in anticipation of the World's Fair and the opening of Monsieur Eiffel's tower, a society of the world's most famous detectives convenes as a single body for the very first time. Sent in place of a conspicuously absent Renato Craig, founding member of The Twelve, his novice assistant Sigmundo Salvatrio arrives, bearing a secret message for the brilliant, brooding Viktor Arzaky, Craig's best friend and the society's cofounder. When one of The Twelve is discovered murdered at the Tower's base—the first in a series of grisly slayings—it falls to Arzaky and Salvatrio, the last remaining student of Craig's famed Academy for Detectives in Buenos Aires, to find and stop the killer. But what the two discover as they race around fin-de-siècle Paris—encountering secret societies, philosophical puzzles, and an imperiled, dangerously beautiful woman—has shattering consequences that will alter the fate of their precious brotherhood forever.--This text refers to the Paperback edition. See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Part of the problem was that the book description doesn't really describe the book, so my expectations weren't met. The only similarity to The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, a book I loved, was the World's Fair. The Paris Engima lacked the rich detail and history. The description promised a "series" of grisly murders, of which there were only two, and only one "grisly". Etc.
I liked the writing, and the main character, and when the story was being told the book was quite good and compelling. The problem was that there were numerous case vignettes put forth by the "Twelve Detectives" which had no bearing on the story and actually detracted from it. If the book had just told the one story, it would have been a really good novella, but a lot of what was there felt like filler, or the author wanting to put all his murder mystery ideas into one place.
Glad I read it, but I wouldn't rush out to read more of the same.