Book Review: The Bones of Paris, by Laurie R. King

This review originally ran in the Thursday, September 17th issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers. If you don't already subscribe, sign up here to receive a bi-weekly dose of readerly goodness in your inbox.

Laurie R. King is perhaps best recognized for her novels starring Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell, so it is not so surprising she's a master at creating--and solving--intricately detailed historical mysteries. The Bones of Paris, which re-introduces Harris Stuyvesant, the star of her 2007 novel Touchstone, is no exception.

It's 1929, and Stuyvesant, a former federal agent now working as a private detective, is broken-hearted in Berlin--and broke. When the opportunity to work a plush case locating a missing girl in Paris comes his way, he leaps for it. His search leads to a series of encounters with the great cultural figures of the period: Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Man Ray, Sylvia Beach. As the days drag on and he turns up less and less about the missing girl, his simple, cushy case gradually becomes something much more sinister.

King's knowledge of the era and the Surrealist art scene, and her appreciation of the minute details that make up a well-crafted mystery, work to create a thoroughly entertaining mystery that mixes fact in with the fiction. The story is peppered with references to Stuyvesant's past, providing background for those not familiar with Touchstone but occasionally slowing the pace. Nevertheless, readers will soon find themselves racing ahead, following carefully placed clues to a shocking conclusion nobody--except Harris Stuyvesant, of course--will see coming.


Thanks to the publisher for providing an e-galley of this title for review.
The Bones of Paris | Laurie R. King | Bantam | September 2013 | Hardcover | 432 pages

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