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Palace of Justice (Aristide Ravel Mysteries)


Palace of Justice (Aristide Ravel Mysteries) Cover

ISBN13: 9780312379896
ISBN10: 0312379897
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“Known for her impeccable plotting and fully defined characters,” says Library Journal in a starred review about acclaimed author Susanne Alleyn, and in this newest installment featuring Aristide Ravel, freelance investigator for the Paris police, Alleyn brings her sharpest voice and most keenly crafted mystery yet.

Louis XVI is in his grave, and Marie-Antoinette is on her way to trial. Paris is hungry, restless, and fearful in the autumn of 1793, and the guillotines blade is beginning to fall daily on the necks of enemies of the French Republic. Not even members of the Republican government are safe from the threat of the Revolutionary Tribunal, where the only sentence for the guilty is death.

In this atmosphere of distrust and anxiety, police agent Ravel, while coming to terms with personal tragedy, must stop a ruthless killer who is terrorizing the city. Ravel soon learns, however, that hunting a murderer who strikes at random and leaves headless corpses on the streets, paralleling the ever more numerous victims of the guillotine, is a task that will lead him to dark, painful secrets and echoes from an even darker past.

            From the author of The Cavalier of the Apocalypse, A Treasury of Regrets, and Game of Patience comes the fourth Aristide Ravel mystery, unfolding amid the bloody events and murderous politics of the Reign of Terror.


In the pre-Revolutionary atmosphere of distrust and anxiety, police agent Aristide Ravel must stop a ruthless killer who is terrorizing the city.

About the Author

SUSANNE ALLEYN has been fascinated with the French Revolution since childhood and has been exploring and writing about it since. She lives in Albany, NY.

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L.A. Reader, January 3, 2011 (view all comments by L.A. Reader)
Palace of Justice, a historical mystery, is set during the French Revolution around the time Marie Antoinette lost her head and features the brooding, intriguing Aristide Ravel, who reluctantly began to work as a police investigative agent in "Cavalier of the Apocalypse." The mystery portions of Palace are clever and twisty, though I thought it less a whodunnit than a procedural coupled with a study of what fanatasism and madness does to a society as a whole and to individuals in particular. As usual, though, it is Ravel's story and the historical details that sucked me in. While immersed in the novel, I was pretty much there with Ravel in the gritty heart of Paris just after the Revolution, during the worst of The Terror, with all of the paranoia, hysteria and death attendant upon that bloody time. There are heart-wrenching scenes of the revolutionary tribunals in action, and of Madame Guillotine doing her gruesome work. Between the political and criminal judicial executions, a serial killer is stalking people of all classes. Headless corpses begin to litter the ground, and Ravel is pulled deeper into the morass by a high-ranking member of the infamous Committee of Public Safety. The story pulled me right in and would not let me go. There were parts that had me biting my nails, while others had me in tears. The historical details were perfect. For those who love a good historical mystery (or even straight historical fiction), I can't praise this one highly enough.

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reader richard, December 10, 2010 (view all comments by reader richard)
The Book Report: Paris during the Terror, 1793, would seem to be a demi-Paradise for a homicide detective. There was a murder or six every few hours at the guillotine. But Aristide Ravel, whose first adventure The Cavalier of the Apocalypse is set in Royalist times and explains why he stopped trying to be a struggling writer and turned to crime (solving!) for his daily bread, is called upon to find the person beheading Paris's lesser folk in icky, non-guillotine-y ways. He does this while watching his dearly beloved friend Mathieu the National Assemblyman walk ever closer to a more judicial murder as a Brissotin. (They lost the power struggle with Robespierre and his ilk.) Ravel finds the suspect, proves he's involved in the grisly freelance murder spree that takes eighteen lives, the murderer confesses, and...and...

My Review: There is, quite simply, no excuse for anyone who likes historical novels not to read the Aristide Ravel books. Susanne Alleyn can and will transport you in 21st-century comfort to the fearful, hungry, exciting world of Revolutionary Paris, and you will be deeply glad that it's a book and not a time machine she's using. Though there are many times I would have sworn I really was there, I was so swept up in the action.

Alleyn is unjustly underknown. Please find her books, buy her books, and support the career of a storyteller who has the wit, the sparkle, and the smarts to bring a quietly ignored epoch to gritty, grisly, fascinating life for our amusement and (if we're willing to go there) edification. Highly, highly recommended.
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Product Details

An Aristide Ravel Mystery
Alleyn, Susanne
Minotaur Books
Mystery & Detective - Police Procedural
Mystery-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Aristide Ravel Mysteries
Series Volume:
No. 4 of 5
Publication Date:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

Palace of Justice (Aristide Ravel Mysteries) Used Hardcover
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Product details 320 pages Minotaur Books - English 9780312379896 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
In the pre-Revolutionary atmosphere of distrust and anxiety, police agent Aristide Ravel must stop a ruthless killer who is terrorizing the city.
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