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Download Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris, by David King Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,175 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David King Narrator: Paul Michael Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.


From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Marcia | 2/15/2014

    " This book is an interesting blend of World War II history and true crime. It opens in 1944 in occupied Paris when a fire reveals a grotesque scene of burnt human remains in a rundown mansion. More bodies are discovered, grisly details of the crimes emerge, and the killer is revealed as a man using the hopes and dreams of people looking to escape the Nazis for his own gruesome profit. The picture of Paris in wartime is gritty and dark, and the author shows us how the crimes were very much a product of this setting. It raises important questions about who to believe amidst war. It's not a happy book by any means but it's certainly a fascinating one. Recommended for history buffs and true crime fans. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Ang | 2/3/2014

    " Four stars if the bit about the trial wasn't so boring. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Alison | 1/17/2014

    " While this had what was a very interesting story, it was not presented in a coherent, easily read manner. It was full of tedious details and was often confusing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Carly | 1/13/2014

    " This book was fascinating and disturbing. I have read many books about serial killers and Marcel Petoit rivaled the worst of them. He took people's hope and thrived on it and manipulated it into something so evil. As with most serial killer stories, many questions can never be answered, but the evidence points to many things. Also shocking in this book to me was the way that French courtrooms are conducted. It is mad chaos and unclear how fair trials can ever be accomplished. "

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About the Author

David King is a Fulbright scholar with a master’s degree from Cambridge University, and the author of Finding Atlantis, which was a Main Selection of the Book of the Month Club and which has been translated into several languages. He lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his wife and daughter.