The Bones of Paris – Laurie R. King

November 14, 2016

Paris! Just the name brings thoughts of romance and intrigue.  In the first century Before Christ the Romans had named it “Lutitia”. Rome fell and the French renamed it Paris.

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Laurie R. King has once again demonstrated her brilliance and clever use of suspense, character development, and climactic situations creating an edge-of-your-seat thriller.  The Bones of Paris is published by Thorndike Press, copyright 2013.

In 1928-29 the city of lights was teaming with artists, writers, poets, photographers and jazz players. Harris Sturyvesant travels to the Montparnasse in Paris in search of a young woman whose uncle has hired him to find her because the family hadn’t heard from her in some time. Harris had worked for J. Edgar Hoover and had a falling out with him so private detective work seemed a practical alternative.

He’d been to Paris before and knew his way around but nothing could prepare him for the macabre and theatrical events that he was about to encounter.  His objective, Phillipa Crosby (‘Pip’ to her friends), had been a regular correspondent with her mother and family. Then the letters stopped.

Harris Sturyvesant had known ‘Pip’ briefly a year before and that she did modeling for painters and photographers and, although she had a severe burn scar on her side, she was quite popular. She frequently visited many of the bars and clubs where artists and authors were regulars. Harris would spend his nights at these establishments asking around to those who had met her. He nearly gets in a boxing match with E. Hemingway, has a talk with Gertrude Stein, and has a laugh with Cole Porter. Eventually he’s led to a theatre where the plays depict extremely graphic displays of murder and dismemberment.

This horror show teaches him how bizarre the people she, ‘Pip’, had been drawn-in by. In particular, an American photographer named Man Ray who was known for his vile treatment of women. Another person of interest was the theatre owner who invites Harris to a formal party at his mansion. After dinner he leads his guests down a long stairwell to the quarry tunnels and catacombs under a large portion of the city.
NOTE: SEE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – FEBRUARY 2011 for information and history of the catacombs.

These quarry tunnels were known for wild parties, orgies, and hiding military nationals. Artists held philosophical discussions about the changes in art, leading to impressionism, cubism, and many forms admired today.

I won’t say more about this novel for I wanted only to intrigue you into reading Laurie R. King’s works and encourage everyone to enjoy this woman’s talent for research, suspenseful plot twists, very well developed characters, and brilliant writing style. She is also a great romanticist and you will find she puts much love and philosophical understanding into every chapter.


Paul Webster

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