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The Paris Enigma: A Novel Hardcover – Nov 4 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st Edition edition (Nov. 4 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061479675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061479670
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,910,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“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.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.3 out of 5 stars 17 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Just OK May 21 2010
By Porter Hardy - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had high hopes for this book after reading some of its accolades in the press but found it to be just OK. It moved slowly and somehow the writing just didn't grip me. There was never a point in the book where I just had to know what happened next. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't special either.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but Not Great April 15 2009
By Rocky - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It dragged a bit. Probably too European for me. Does not compare with Robert B. Parker, Estleman et al.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unusual mystery, but is it a mystery, or is it a philosophical bit of balderdash? Dec 26 2008
By Marcia B. Worden - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not much of a mystery. I'd hate to be alone on a desert island with only this book.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good writing Nov. 18 2008
By Nicole Del Sesto - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I debated whether to give this book a 3 or a 4, but in the end I liked it well enough so I went with the 4. Had I the option, I guess it would have gotten a 3.5.

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.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shadows lurking in the City of Lights Nov. 20 2008
By Zoyd - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The witty cover of this book caught my eye when I was looking through the new releases on amazon the other day. I'm very happy I let myself be seduced by it because THE PARIS ENIGMA - the first novel to be published in English by what I understand is a young writer who's already acclaimed in his native Argentina - is quite brilliant. First of all, the setting: the Paris of 1889 that de Santis evokes is wonderfully gothic and mysterious, on the cusp of the modern age, but still full of the darkness of an earlier, less scientific, age. (The unfinished Eiffel Tower is the central symbol for this in-between state.) And then the plot: a serial killer investigation like none other you'll have come across, conducted by a cabal of the world's greatest detectives (aka The Twelve Detectives) and the novel's hero and narrator, the young assistant to one of them. It's simply a superb historical mystery, but it doesn't stop there - if you want, you can also read THE PARIS ENIGMA as a philosophical investigation into the nature of good and evil, of crime and punishment. Perfect reading for a cold winter's day!