The Bones of Paris

Written by Laurie R. King
Review by Richard Bourgeois

Oh, to have been a private dick in 1929 Paris! American expatriate and ex-Federal investigator Harris Stuyvesant is on the rapidly cooling trail of a pert young lady from Boston, missing now for several weeks. Odds are nothing bad has happened; she’s probably just serving as some painter’s muse and has lost track of the calendar. As Stuyvesant searches, living on a generous expense account, he runs across every important artist or writer living in Paris. But when he isn’t trading verbal jabs with Man Ray in a Montparnasse café or real ones with Hemingway in the boxing ring, Stuyvesant works his way ever more deeply into the circle of a fiendish serial killer. Was Philippa Crosby murdered as a work of art – a cathartic shock, a Luis Buñuel film taken to the height of macabre absurdity? And can Stuyvesant solve the puzzle in time to save the next victim?

King skillfully weaves her fictional artists in among the real ones – I truly believed that any of them could have been involved in Philippa’s disappearance, and I will never look at certain paintings the same way again. The author goes too far with historical shout-outs just once in my opinion, throwing in a composer who wasn’t actually there and didn’t turn out to be important. One must assume she is a big Cole Porter fan and couldn’t help herself. And who can blame her? In all, an exciting hardboiled homage to one of the great eras in art. Highly recommended.