Rest in Pieces

François Eugène Vidocq
Created (well, fictionalized, anyway) by Louis Bayard

The latest real-life historical detective to get the fictionalized treatment is VIDOCQ, the flamboyant French thief-turned-thieftaker who became one of the world's first and greatest detectives, his awesome arrest rate (or at least his colourful memoirs) inspiring Edgar Allan Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and now, almost two hundred years later, Louis Bayard, the author of such previous acclaimed historical mysteries as The Pale Blue Eye and Mr. Timothy.

In Bayard's 2008 novel The Black Tower, the founder and chief of a the newly created la Sûreté, Paris' plainclothes police force, finds himself hot on the trail of the fate of the young dauphin Louis-Charles, son of Marie-Antoinette and King Louis XVI -- the legendary "man in the iron mask."

Far-fetched? Hell, no. Given the sometimes-dubious veracity of much of the real-life Vidocq's writings, it's tempting to suggest that Bayard is just picking up where Vidocq himself left off...



Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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