Next book

LITTLE DEMON IN THE CITY OF LIGHT

A TRUE STORY OF MURDER AND MESMERISM IN BELLE EPOQUE PARIS

What could have been a silly exposé of Paris, hypnotism and detection is instead a well-constructed, informative work by a...

International journalist and Washington Post nonfiction book editor Levingston (Historic Ships of San Francisco, 1984) uses the story of a murder by a foolish girl and her lover to illustrate another side of belle epoque Paris.

The author foregoes the tabloid excesses and exploitation of lurid details from that time and focuses on the debate as to whether a person is capable of committing a crime under hypnosis or even post-hypnotic suggestion. The supposedly duped 20-year-old girl, Gabrielle Bompard, and her lover, Michel Eyraud, lured a wealthy Parisian to her room, where Eyraud strangled him. They then stuffed him in a trunk and took it to Lyon, where Eyraud dumped the body over an embankment toward a river. Unfortunately for the lovers, the body landed against a bush, where the odor of decomposition soon revealed its location. The talent of Marie-François Goron, chief detective of the national police, “a stout bundle of energy…with a thick mustache that he waxed at the tips,” is the most interesting part of the story. His doggedness in exploring every clue and hunch led to the discovery of not only the victim’s body, but also the identities of the perpetrators. Finding and arresting Bompard and Eyraud proved to be a more daunting challenge. Ultimately, it’s unclear whether Goron would ever have found them, since Bompard deserted Eyraud in California and returned to Paris with a new lover who convinced her to go to the police. With worldwide press, her lover was soon taken, and the two were tried together. Bompard believed that no one could ever blame her and relished her fame as the newspapers of the time reveled in sensationalistic reporting.

What could have been a silly exposé of Paris, hypnotism and detection is instead a well-constructed, informative work by a talented author.

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-53603-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 24


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

Next book

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 24


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

Next book

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Close Quickview