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Original hardcover: 288 pages
Original publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur (April 2007)
Original list: US$24.95
Please note that, owing to an error in the initial publisher's catalogue, some library and/or bookseller databases may have the title incorrectly listed as A Treasury of Regret without the final S.
For police agent and investigator Aristide Ravel, the teeming streets and alleyways of Paris are a constant source of activity. And in the unruly climate of 1797, when gold and food are scarce, citizens will stop at very little to get what they need.
When Jeannette Moineau, an illiterate servant girl, is accused of poisoning the master of the house where she works, Ravel cannot believe she is guilty of the crime. With stubborn witnesses, a mysterious white powder, and stolen goods all stacked against her, however, he knows it will not be easy to clear her of the charges. But he finds an unexpected ally in Laurence, a young widow of the house, whose past surprisingly intersects his own.
In a large household brimming with bickering and resentment, everyone seems to have a motive for poisoning old Martin Dupont. But as more family members begin to turn up dead, the list of suspects rapidly dwindles. Tensions rise and Ravel and Laurence must probe the secrets of the city’s crafty politicians and confidence artists for clues to clear Jeannette’s name. Finding information, though, in dissolute post-revolutionary Paris, can lead to costly and dangerous demands.
From the Reviewers (Print)
Alleyn skillfully depicts her characters' flaws and strengths while plotting a fine puzzle mystery. If your patrons enjoy historicals and have not yet discovered Alleyn, put her latest on the must-read list.
-- Library Journal (starred review)
Treasury is also on LJ's list of the best genre fiction of 2007.
In Republican-era Paris, Aristide Ravel is a police investigator currently assisting in a case that involves the death of the elderly but healthy head of a bourgeois household. ... Alleyn brings the period to life through nomenclature (the Republican 10-day week, for example) and a tidy subplot involving a deceased friend from Ravel's past. This is an excellent choice for mystery fans and for supplemental reading that supports both history and French culture curricula.
-- School Library Journal
Alleyn's historical authenticity--extending to a bibliography, glossary and other explanatory features--lifts her competent and conventional whodunit above the ordinary.
-- Kirkus Reviews
That the reader is in the hands of an author interested in immaculate historical detail and accuracy is evidenced from page 1. ... The police have taken into custody a young servant girl accused by the family who employs her of poisoning the family patriarch. Determining her guilt or innocence is the objective in this traditionally plotted and atmospheric whodunit.
A Treasury of Regrets combines the best in history and mystery. Rather than treating revolutionary Paris simply as window-dressing, Alleyn makes good use of the historical setting, both in creating her plot and in creating her characters, several of whom have lost loved ones to the guillotine. The mystery itself is artfully plotted and compelling; I was in due suspense as to whodunit.
-- The Historical Novels Review
The chaotic days following the French Revolution form the backdrop for this absorbing sequel to 2006's Game of Patience, Alleyn's third novel, in which police spy Aristide Ravel and Commissaire Brasseur explore the various motives and opportunities of the Dupont family after their patriarch is poisoned. ... With a light, literate hand, Alleyn includes a wealth of detail about life in France during the Republican period, while ratcheting up the tension with every chapter. Fans of Charles O'Brien (Mute Witness) and Baroness Orczy (The Scarlet Pimpernel) will be delighted.
-- Publishers Weekly
Aristide Ravel is cast as a forerunner of the 20th century's laconic and lachrymose detective, a freelance investigator for the Paris police who finds that the poisoning of Dupont is rooted in a family's resentment and revenge, complicated by an intricate mesh of relationships upstairs and downstairs. ... The author captures the atmosphere of a nation struggling toward a social and political unity untainted by the irrational violence and cruelty of those who toppled the monarchy. Ravel is a realistic and appealing observer of a developing society.
-- The Washington Times
Online Reviews and Recommendations
"Aristide Ravel, enigmatic freelancer for the Revolutionary Paris police, is convinced that illiterate servant Jeannette Moineau is innocent in the poisoning of her master. Proving it is another story. Citizen Dupont's household is a morass of quarrelling relatives, each with an agenda. In a world filled with accusation, dangerous politics, and increasingly scarce coinage, a defenseless servant girl is--fatally--at risk. The astute Aristide will however have the last word.... Wonderful detail and psychology, as in Game of Patience."
--Poisoned Pen Bookstore
By Colette Bancroft
The St. Petersburg Times
Thrillers and historical settings go together like murder and mayhem in these new novels:
. . . .
A Treasury of Regrets, by Susanne Alleyn (Thomas Dunne, $24.95), sets police investigator Aristide Ravel to work in Paris in 1797, trying to solve an old man's poisoning death amid a society still shattered by revolution.
film/TV rights should be directed to Susanne's agent:
Don Congdon Associates
110 William St., Suite 2202
New York, NY 10038
212 645 1229 phone
212 727 2688 fax
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