Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris
As swastikas decorate their national monuments, French authorities make an even more horrific discovery at a house in the fashionable 16th arrondissement – burned, dismembered bodies by the dozens. The search for the house’s owner, Dr. Petiot, and the identities of the victims, is complicated by the situation during the Nazi occupation: people disappear in droves every day. Could the mysterious doctor, as he claimed, have killed these people under orders from the Resistance, or does he work for the Gestapo? Is he simply a monster? Part true-crime procedural and part history of Paris under the occupation, this engrossing book reads like a comedy of errors courtesy of the French judicial system; the absurdity of the trial actually makes one appreciate American jurisprudence. The book is a bit uneven, but for the most noble of reasons – King sticks to the known facts and doesn’t indulge in the rampant, novelistic speculation many nonfiction authors use to fill gaps. He advances his theories in the last chapter and clearly labels them as such, leaving the psychoanalyzing to the doctors who examined Petiot. As they couldn’t even agree amongst themselves, no true elucidation to his character is provided. A well-written, well-constructed, and gripping read.