The Crimes of Paris


The Crimes of Paris

A True Story of Murder, Theft, and Detection

Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

400 pages
37 illustrations


October 2010


$23.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Turn-of-the-century Paris was the beating heart of a rapidly changing world. But the City of Light was also a violent place. Criminals eagerly took advantage of the inventive nature of the age—the first getaway car, increasingly dangerous weapons, more creative disguises. The police battled back with a weapon of their own: Alphonse Bertillon, the world’s greatest detective, the inventor of the mug shot and the crime-scene photo, and a brilliant innovator who pioneered the new science of criminal investigation.
Then on August 21, 1911, came a crime like none other: Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre. It was assumed that Bertillon would quickly solve the mystery and retrieve the painting.
It would not be so simple.

In The Crimes of Paris, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler tell the gripping story of the theft and the investigation that followed. Bertillon and his associates would pursue clues leading them into the world of avant-garde artists, cheap apartments in Montmartre and Montparnasse, cabarets, and from this first great mystery into yet others. Their suspects would be everyone from the poet Guillaume Apollinaire to J. P. Morgan to Pablo Picasso.
A vivid tapestry of Paris, daring thieves, and relentless investigators, The Crimes of Paris is a heart-pounding true-crime thriller of the highest order, as well as a brilliant account of the modern detective.

Author Bio

Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler have written numerous books together, including The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein and the Edgar Award–winning In Darkness, Death. They are married and live in New York City.


“Part fast-paced thriller and part social history, The Crimes of Paris is a book you can’t put down. I found it to be irresistibly engrossing.”—Michael Connelly

“Set in the early 20th century against the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre, The Crimes of Paris takes an evocative look at the darker side of the City of Light. An engrossing tale of a city vibrant with artists—even a young Picasso was involved in the theft—poets, anarchists, aristocratic and street thieves, belle epoque scandals, and the pioneers of crime detection. Delectable, compelling, and intriguing.”—Cara Black, author of Murder in the Marais

“[An] engrossing forensic history. . . . [Its] lively portraits . . . [and] anecdotes buzz with energy.”—Washington Post

“A thorough and at times disturbing view of turn-of-the-century Paris, and its crimes and passions. . . . Francophiles and true-crime lovers will find the book a fascinating read.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"The theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911 brings on stage Vicdocq and Bertillon as scientific investigators, Apollinaire and Picasso as possible villains, as well as leading lights of the Belle Epoque in supporting roles as a worldwide investigation gets underway. It’s high adventure throughout. The notes and bibliography alone are worth the price of the book."—Peter Skinner, ForeWord

Table of Contents

Chapter One - The City of Light
Chapter Two - Searching for a Woman
Chapter Three - Sympathy for the Devil
Chapter Four - Science vs. Crime
Chapter Five - The Man Who Measured People
Chapter Six - The Suspects
Chapter Seven - The Motor Bandits
Chapter Eight - The Thief
Chapter Nine - Cherchez la Femme
Chapter Ten - The Greatest Crime
Afterword - The Mastermind

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