Death in the City of Light is the gripping, true story of a brutal serial killer who unleashed his own reign of terror in Nazi-Occupied Paris. As decapitated heads and dismembered body parts surfaced in the Seine, Commissaire Georges-Victor Massu, head of the Brigade Criminelle, was tasked with tracking down the elusive murderer in a twilight world of Gestapo, gangsters, resistance fighters, pimps, prostitutes, spies, and other shadowy figures of the Parisian underworld.
The main suspect was Dr. Marcel Petiot, a handsome, charming physician with remarkable charisma. He was the “People’s Doctor,” known for his many acts of kindness and generosity, not least in providing free medical care for the poor. Petiot, however, would soon be charged with twenty-seven murders, though authorities suspected the total was considerably higher, perhaps even as many as 150.
Who was being slaughtered, and why? Was Petiot a sexual sadist, as the press suggested, killing for thrills? Was he allied with the Gestapo, or, on the contrary, the French Resistance? Or did he work for no one other than himself? Trying to solve the many mysteries of the case, Massu would unravel a plot of unspeakable deviousness. When Petiot was finally arrested, the French police hoped for answers.
But the trial soon became a circus. Attempting to try all twenty-seven cases at once, the prosecution stumbled in its marathon cross-examinations, and Petiot, enjoying the spotlight, responded with astonishing ease. His attorney, René Floriot, a rising star in the world of criminal defense, also effectively, if aggressively, countered the charges. Soon, despite a team of prosecuting attorneys, dozens of witnesses, and over one ton of evidence, Petiot’s brilliance and wit threatened to win the day.
Drawing extensively on many new sources, including the massive, classified French police file on Dr. Petiot, Death in the City of Light is a brilliant evocation of Nazi-Occupied Paris and a harrowing exploration of murder, betrayal, and evil of staggering proportions.
©2011 Paul Michael (P)2011 Random House Audio
“Erik Larson's tour de force of narrative nonfiction hasn't been matched - until now… While this work is painstaking in its research, it still has the immediacy and gasp power of a top-notch thriller. True-crime at its best.” (Booklist)
“A gripping story…this fascinating, often painful account combines a police procedural with a vivid historical portrait of culture and law enforcement in Nazi-occupied France.”(Publishers Weekly)
“Gripping….expertly written and completely absorbing” Kirkus Reviews)
What a boring list of people and places w/o any real story. I tried and tried to listen to this book, but it began to feel like work so I stopped.
A little known tale that highlight the evil and greediness of mankind kept me enthralled from beginning to end. A must read for all WWII history buffs and those who value justice.
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I was surprised that such a potentially interesting subject could be so easily turned into a pile of boring mush. There was no tension, no suspense and no drama . . . though the narrator's cheesy French accents were occasionally entertaining.
I enjoyed this book. It did have its dry moments, but overall it was a good listen. This is a good one to listen to as long as there isn't anything else commanding your attention as it has a large number of facts introduced in clumps.
I was not a fan of the French voices the author gave the people, I understand it takes place in France, but it would have been easier to understand, and less choppy, if he had just kept the same accent through the entire book. It made them into caricatures.
I found it interesting that you knew he did the murders from the beginning. It made the book interesting to see the twists and turns and deceptive traits of Petiot throughout the entire investigation and trial.
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