- ISBN-10: 0307967190
- ISBN-13: 978-0307967190
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
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Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris Hardcover
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Thus begins a horror story, not fiction, but a true story, of a heinous crime committed by a serial killer as told by historian David King in his new book "Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris"
The main suspect is Doctor Petiot who the investigating police belief may have been taking advantage of Jews and others looking to escape Nazi persecution. By offering them a way, for a substantial amount of money, to leave the occupied France and obtain passage to Argentina, Petiot was able to lure his victims into positions where he could dispose of them and confiscate all of their worldly possessions.
King chronicles the lives of some of the victims and those who knew Petiot. King traces the investigation from its sordid beginning to its dubious conclusion. Was Doctor Petiot really guilty? Read David Kings book "Death in the City of Light" to find out and draw your own conclusions.
King's book would have benefited the reader greatly if he would have included photos of the major people involved (Kings mentions how photographers were taking pictures in the court room) and areas around Paris where the crime was committed.Read more ›
During the years of Nazi occupation of Paris, Marcel Petiot, a seemingly respectable doctor, murdered an unknown number of people. Was he a German sympathizer, using his own form of a "final solution" on innocent Jews who merely wanted to escape the city? Was he a member of the French resistance, acting as judge and executioner towards those he saw as friendly towards the Nazi occupiers? Or was he merely a cunning sociopath who took advantage of the chaos of the times to inflict as much horror and sadistic torture on those victims he managed to convince to walk through his door? What follows is a complicated, often convoluted trek through the oppressed streets and shadowy corners of Paris as the author attempts to answer those questions.
While the book does lay out, quite vividly, the incompetence of the French police force and the near-absolute ineffectiveness of the court system during those crazy, confused times, what the book doesn't do is create a compelling, coherent story. It's obvious the author did an exhaustive amount of research; what's not obvious is some sort of thread binding the story together. King attempts to illustrate the desperate gaiety exhibited by the glitterati who stayed in Paris despite the tramping of Nazi boots down her vaunted (some would say hallowed) streets by interspersing chapters detailing the plays put on by Sartre and Picasso in intimate salons for the edification and entertainment of a select few of Paris society; he also inserts chapters illustrating the desperate last stand of the French government and its leaders as they tried to keep German forces away. However, instead of creating a well-rounded view of this particular era in history, these chapters seem...awkward and jarring.Read more ›
A serial killer, Marcel Petiot, during a time when so many were being tortured and murdered by a government headed by a maniac - people just disappeared all the time, so who would think it was the result of a serial killer rather than Hitler and minions? Especially when Dr. Petiot claimed to be part of the Resistance, helping people escape.
Given the similar stories, the books are quite different because of the writing. Mr. King details lots of facts, so many that I had trouble keeping up. He has a habit of referring to places by their street addresses, and that was also hard to keep straight, as was the abundance of references to different people, especially when I didn't know which were going to be key players and which were not. Given that, I very much appreciated references to well-known people such as Sartre and Camus.
There were many references to the costs in francs, but I would have appreciated a comparison to current value, because the value of a franc in 1940s occupied Paris means nothing to me, and I'm probably not alone in that.
The writing was straightforward, usually a refreshing change from some of Larson's overblown phrases, but it did sometimes lapse into dryness.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great historical read. The first half is especially intense. It will be hard to put down. Sad, but fascinating.Published 2 days ago by Gina
I read this book a couple of books ago because it was a gift. I thought it shifted rather uncomfortably between a critique of the way the Germans handled occupied Paris and the... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Edgar Mcgarvey
In writing "Death in the City of Light," David King had very promising material with which to work. Read morePublished 11 days ago by S. Bach
Horrible, horrible, horrible. The writing quality is poor, the story was disjointed...the protagonist is merely annoying and the victims weren't developed enough to care about... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Susan
Very interesting read. As someone who truly enjoys non-fiction especially in the WWII era, this was a great book. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
A mass murderer in occupied Paris - fascinating in a morbid sense but ultimately tedious!Published 6 months ago by Laurence R. Cousins
Couldn't decide whether he wanted it to be a history or a mystery book. Too laborious for both so VERY difficult to follow. Very intriguing story.Published 8 months ago by Critique
The book starts off great, with good pacing, action and detail. The second half, with the trial, gets a little dry and boring at points. Read morePublished 8 months ago by kprimo25