Download City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris Audiobook

City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris Audiobook, by Holly Tucker Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Holly Tucker Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2017 ISBN: 9781504799324
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Appointed to conquer the “crime capital of the world,” the first police chief of Paris faces an epidemic of murder in the late 1600s. Assigned by Louis XIV, Nicolas de La Reynie begins by clearing the streets of filth and installing lanterns throughout Paris, turning it into the City of Light.

The fearless La Reynie pursues criminals through the labyrinthine neighborhoods of the city. He unearths a tightly knit cabal of poisoners, witches, and renegade priests. As he exposes their unholy work, he soon learns that no one is safe from black magic―not even the Sun King. In a world where a royal glance can turn success into disgrace, the distance between the quietly backstabbing world of the king’s court and the criminal underground proves disturbingly short. Nobles settle scores by employing witches to craft poisons and by hiring priests to perform dark rituals in Paris’ most illustrious churches and cathedrals.

As La Reynie continues his investigations, he is haunted by a single question: Could Louis’ mistresses be involved in such nefarious plots? The pragmatic and principled La Reynie must decide just how far he will go to protect his king.

From secret courtrooms to torture chambers, City of Light, City of Poison is a gripping true-crime tale of deception and murder. Based on thousands of pages of court transcripts and La Reynie’s compulsive note taking, as well as on letters and diaries, Tucker’s riveting narrative makes the fascinating, real-life characters breathe on the page.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Not only a serious, meticulously researched work of nonfiction, it is an irresistible story…full of danger, mystery, and excitement.”

    Candice Millard, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A stylish study of crimes committed by the high and mighty… Tucker writes with gusto…[and] finds high drama.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A cop drama of sorts, intermingled with a historian’s tenacious pursuit of the evidence…Fascinating.”

    Times Higher Education (London)

  • “An intriguing amalgam of historical evocation and crime narrative…Tucker tells the story as if it were a classic whodunit, bringing alive an extremely complicated and baffling series of events.”


  • “Conjures up seventeenth-century Paris and makes it seem close to the present day.”

    New York Journal of Books

  • “Most entertaining. Holly Tucker takes us into the Paris of muddy streets, overworked police inspectors, back alley abortions, and fiendish poisoners as she delivers the shocking details of one of history’s greatest scandals.”

    Literary Hub

  • “Tucker vividly brings to life a slice of Parisian history in this rigorously researched true-crime epic.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Provides stunning insights into the real filth of Louis XIV’s reign, gilded, as in the Sun King’s creation of Versailles, but rotten with duplicity and murder. Completely absorbing.”


  • “Tucker’s exposition is a true detective story of the finest kind…For anyone interested in the darker side of the Sun King’s reign, City of Light, City of Poison will not disappoint.”

    Shelf Awareness

  • “At once bewitching and chilling, the dark story of toxic intrigue, murder, and mayhem in the Sun King’s France reads like the most gripping thriller.”

    Adrienne Miller, National Book Award finalist

  • “Imagine a novel full of sex and betrayal, conspiracy and politics, murder and magic, detective work and justice…This isn’t fiction: it just reads like it.”

    Malcolm Gaskill, author of Witchfinders

  • “A fierce tale of conspiracy and retribution…[in which] even in gilded palaces the human psyche seems familiarly deceitful and self-justifying.”

    Michael Sims, author of Arthur and Sherlock

  • A Library Journal Audio Spotlight Pick
  • A 2017 Publishers Weekly Pick of Most Anticipated Books of Spring
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for March 2017
  • A Literary Hub Pick of Best Crime Books of 2017

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About the Author

Holly Tucker is a professor of French and biomedical ethics and society at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris and Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading is an Audie Award–winning narrator and has received dozens of Earphones Awards. She has been named by AudioFile magazine as a “Voice of the Century,” as well as the Best Voice in Science Fiction & Fantasy in 2008 and 2009 and Best Voice in Biography & Culture in 2010. She is also a theater actor in the Washington, DC, area and has been a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company since 1987. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, among others.