THE AFFAIR OF THE POISONS by Frances Mossiker

THE AFFAIR OF THE POISONS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Miss Mossiker has done it again, this time with the history of seventeenth-century France and its denizens rather than to Marie-Antoinette or to Napoleon and Josephine. The Affair of the Poisons is a well documented and twice-well told tale of the fumes of sulphur under the scent of perfume, of the witches, satanists, black masses and blacker magic which erupted into a monumental scandal during the reign of the Roi Soleil and which dragged into the mud of popular gossip the noblest names and fairest ladies of France during the Splendid Century. Among the aspects of the scandal to which the author devotes particular attention are the implication of Madame de Montespan, the king's mistress, and the role of the famous La Voisin, ""Queen of the Witches,"" in an episode of French history which, for sheer dramatic perversity, remained unequaled until the time of the equally famous ""Affair of the Diamond Necklace."" As in her previous works (The Queen's Necklace and Napoleon and Josephine), the author relies quite heavily, and quite expertly, on contemporary primary sources. In this book, however, are conspicuously absent those stylistic mannerisms which were as distracting as they were cloying. All in all this is very likely Miss Mossiker's best work. Unfortunately, because of the comparatively obscure nature of its subject, it may have the least popular appeal.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1969
Publisher: Knopf