Crimes of Paris by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

Posted 18 November, 2014 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 12 Comments

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crimes of paris

Title: Crimes of Paris: A True Story of Murder, Theft, and Detection
Authors: Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
Published: 2009 Pages: 320
Genre: Nonfiction (Historical)
Rating: Lots of great “Did you Know…?!”

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads

In Short: In 1911 the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre resulting in a crime mystery that was not solved for two years (and is still partially unsolved!).

Why I Read: I won this in a giveaway about 5 years ago! I chose to read it for Nonfiction November, bonus points for having a female author.

Thoughts in General: While the theft of the Mona Lisa serves as the backbone for Crimes of Paris, the authors take a look at several contemporary crimes, the culture and ambiance of Paris around the turn of the century, and the evolving methods of solving crime during this time period. At times the writing felt a bit clunky and it certainly wasn’t a quick read (wish I could have listened), but overall Crimes of Paris was a fascinating book that left me much information to bug Scott with while he was trying to watch TV. Or drive. Or eat dinner.

Things I learned: (spoiler free)

  • Picasso lived in Paris at the time and was briefly thought to have involvement in the stolen Mona Lisa. He is also partly influenced the invention of camouflage.
  • Argentina was the first country to use fingerprints to solve a crime.
  • Literature of the day was greatly influenced by true crime (and visa versa)
  • The first crime involving a getaway car happened in Paris
  • There was a Parisian subculture of criminals in the early 1900s called the apaches and they even had their own dance! I looked the dance up on YouTube, as one does.

Oh boy do I love random information! Crimes of Paris is full of it!

Bottom Line: It’s too bad Crimes of Paris isn’t on audio because that’s definitely how I would recommend digesting this one. It was a fascinating read on many levels and I’m glad I read it, but it was a bit drier than I had hoped it would be. I recommend it but with the caveat that it likely won’t keep you on the edge of your seat.

What’s the most fascinating Historical Nonfiction book you’ve read?

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12 Responses to “Crimes of Paris by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler”

  1. I learned a ton of similarly random information from One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson, which I read earlier this month. It’s pulled together more by the chronological conceit than a theme like “crime,” but I think you might like it.

  2. Sounds like a nonfiction book I would enjoy and it takes place in Paris. I am having a bit of that, it’s a little drier than I hoped it would be, for the nonfiction I’m reading right now, Waiting for Snow in Havana. You sound like me in reading a book 5 years after winning it. I’m trying to get to everything but so many good books to read!

  3. OH, you asked a question. The most fascinating Historical Nonfiction book that I can recall is Out of the Flames by the Goldstones.

  4. I read this one a couple of years ago and remember liking all of the little facts I learned but now I don’t remember any of them. Hmm …
    I really loved Murder on the Home Front by Molly Lefebure. It barely seemed like I was reading non-fiction at all because she was so fascinating when talking about her life!

  5. Sounds like an interesting read that would make a great second book, perhaps one that you only read on lunch breaks.