Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris

 

** spoiler alert **

RELEVANT QUOTE – “I am constantly amazed by man’s inhumanity to man.”
― Primo Levi

From wiki – On 11 March 1944, neighbors of a house owned by Marcel André Henri Félix Petiot at 21 rue Le Sueur in Paris, complained to police of a foul stench in the area and of large amounts of smoke billowing from a chimney of the house. Fearing a chimney fire, the police summoned firemen, who entered the house and found a roaring fire in a coal stove in the basement. In the fire, and scattered in the basement, were human remains.

General Information
===============
Narrator…………………..Paul Michael
Abr/Unabr………………..Unabridged
Genre………………………True story of a brutal serial killer
Total Runtime……………13 Hours 54 Mins

BLURBS: Death in the City of Light is the gripping, true story of a brutal serial killer who unleashed his own reign of terror in Nazi-Occupied Paris. As decapitated heads and dismembered body parts surfaced in the Seine, Commissaire Georges-Victor Massu, head of the Brigade Criminelle, was tasked with tracking down the elusive murderer in a twilight world of Gestapo, gangsters, resistance fighters, pimps, prostitutes, spies, and other shadowy figures of the Parisian underworld.

The main suspect was Dr. Marcel Petiot, a handsome, charming physician with remarkable charisma. He was the “People’s Doctor,” known for his many acts of kindness and generosity, not least in providing free medical care for the poor. Petiot, however, would soon be charged with twenty-seven murders, though authorities suspected the total was considerably higher, perhaps even as many as 150.

Who was being slaughtered, and why? Was Petiot a sexual sadist, as the press suggested, killing for thrills? Was he allied with the Gestapo, or, on the contrary, the French Resistance? Or did he work for no one other than himself? Trying to solve the many mysteries of the case, Massu would unravel a plot of unspeakable deviousness.
When Petiot was finally arrested, the French police hoped for answers.

But the trial soon became a circus. Attempting to try all twenty-seven cases at once, the prosecution stumbled in its marathon cross-examinations, and Petiot, enjoying the spotlight, responded with astonishing ease. His attorney, René Floriot, a rising star in the world of criminal defense, also effectively, if aggressively, countered the charges. Soon, despite a team of prosecuting attorneys, dozens of witnesses, and over one ton of evidence, Petiot’s brilliance and wit threatened to win the day.

Drawing extensively on many new sources, including the massive, classified French police file on Dr. Petiot, Death in the City of Light is a brilliant evocation of Nazi-Occupied Paris and a harrowing exploration of murder, betrayal, and evil of staggering proportions.

This book should have come face to face with an active editor to whittle it down to ten hours max. Georges Simenon, Sartre, Camus, Fleming, Picasso and de Beauvoir’s lives overlap with this grisly tale.

Twilight Garden: A Guide to Enjoying Your Garden in the Evening Hours by Lia Leendertz

bookshelves: summer-2014, e-book, net-galley, nonfiction, gardening, published-2011

Read from July 16 to 21, 2014

 

Pavilion Books

Archive Date Jul 29 2014

Description: Some say that the twilight hours are the best time to enjoy a garden; a time when the spirit of the place really comes alive. It is also the time when many people pass front gardens on their return home, have a few spare minutes for garden maintenance, or want to enjoy the garden for entertaining. Full of easy maintenance advice, planting ideas for evening fragrance, colour, lighting, design, and attracting wildlife, this is a book for how people garden now. Front gardens, terraces, larger plots and containers will all be covered in an attempt to inspire everyone to transform their outdoor space into a twilight paradise.

Opening quote:

'In the cool of the garden when evening draws in
Serenity waits where the shadows begin.'
-- Joyce Grenfield 'The Garden at Dusk

The foreword encourages that there are millions of us around the world on seeing our gardens as sanctuaries. Heh – no-one could possibly hold a candle to the obsession I feel for my sanctuary, could they?

dot dot dot

Well apparently they can and do and the sort of things they get up to once the sun starts to go down is nobody’s business.

Packed with suitable plants and scrumptious photographs such as the White Garden at Sissinghurst:

[image error] (This is not the exact same picture as in the book)

All I need to do now on the blistering hot night is to rise up with my chablis and have a mooch around what is on offer at the destination I am at at this moment. Where’s my pith helmet…

Four night nectaring moths

Holy Fool by Peter Roberts

bookshelves: published-2011, spring-2014, historical-fiction, play-dramatisation, medieval5c-16c

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from May 11 to 12, 2014


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b014gj3c

Description: Chivalrous or just crazy? The story of William the Marshall with a real-life Don Quixote and his cohort. Stars Michael Williams.

Wiki: Sir William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1147 – 14 May 1219), also called William the Marshal (Norman French: Guillaume le maréchal), was an English (or Anglo-Norman) soldier and statesman. Stephen Langton eulogized him as the “best knight that ever lived.” He served four kings – Henry II, Richard the Lionheart, John, and Henry III – and rose from obscurity to become a regent of England for the last of the four, and so one of the most powerful men in Europe. Before him, the hereditary title of “Marshal” designated head of household security for the king of England; by the time he died, people throughout Europe (not just England) referred to him simply as “the Marshal”. He received the title of “1st Earl of Pembroke” through marriage during the second creation of the Pembroke Earldom.

Bryant and May and the Memory of Blood

Bryant and May and the Memory of Blood - Christopher Fowler

 

bookshelves: spring-2014, series, published-2011, amusing, those-autumn-years, scary-clowns-circus-dolls, britain-england, london

Read from March 13 to April 01, 2014

photo senileagitation.jpgRead by Tim Goodman

Description: Christopher Fowler’s acclaimed Peculiar Crimes Unit novels crackle with sly wit, lively suspense, and twists as chilling as London’s fog. Now the indomitable duo of Arthur Bryant and John May, along with the rest of their quirky team, return to solve a confounding case with dark ties to the British theater and a killer who may mean curtains for all involved.

For the crew of the New Strand Theatre, the play The Two Murderers seems less performance than prophecy when a cast party ends in the shocking death of the theater owner’s son. The crime scene is most unusual, even for Bryant and May. In a locked bedroom without any trace of fingerprints or blood, the only sign of disturbance is a gruesome life-size puppet of Mr. Punch laying on the floor.

A full resumé of the characters by way of an introduction was very welcome, however after just a day away I still can’t elucidate the differences: Bryant and May are a team and that’s all you need to know.

Yay! I get a chance to mercilessly flaunt some silly Blavatsky piccies…

oh, and a lifesize Mr Punch…

and don’t forget The Battle of Blythe Road:

3* – Full Dark House (2003)
4* – The Water Room (2004)
4* – Seventy-Seven Clocks (2005)
3* – Ten Second Staircase (2006)
3.5* – White Corridor (2007)
3.5* – The Victoria Vanishes (2008)
3* – Bryant and May on the Loose (2009)
4* – Off the Rails (2010)
3.5* – Bryant and May and the Memory of Blood (2011)
TR – The Invisible Code (2012)

The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann

bookshelves: translation, spring-2014, under-500-ratings, published-2011, mystery-thriller, norway, currently-reading, books-about-books-and-book-shops, one-penny-wonder, paper-read, abandoned, bettie-s-law-of-excitement-lost, casual-violence, contemporary, doo-lally, duck-shit, families, gulp, lifestyles-deathstyles, mental-health, midlife-crisis, newtome-author, ouch, next, room-101, slit-yer-wrists-gloomy

Read from April 10 to 30, 2014


Description: Ullmann’s characters are complex and paradoxical: neither fully guilty nor fully innocent

Siri Brodal, a chef and restaurant owner, is married to Jon Dreyer, a famous novelist plagued by writer’s block. Siri and Jon have two daughters, and together they spend their summers on the coast of Norway, in a mansion belonging to Jenny Brodal, Siri’s stylish and unforgiving mother.

Siri and Jon’s marriage is loving but difficult, and troubled by painful secrets. They have a strained relationship with their elder daughter, Alma, who struggles to find her place in the family constellation. When Milla is hired as a nanny to allow Siri to work her long hours at the restaurant and Jon to supposedly meet the deadline on his book, life in the idyllic summer community takes a dire turn. One rainy July night, Milla disappears without a trace. After her remains are discovered and a suspect is identified, everyone who had any connection with her feels implicated in her tragedy and haunted by what they could have done to prevent it.

The Cold Song is a story about telling stories and about how life is continually invented and reinvented.

Translated from the Norwegian by Barbara J Haveland

Dedication: For Niels

Opening quote: ‘Tis Love that has warm’d us?’ – John Dryden

Opening: Jenny Brodal had not had a drink in nearly twenty years. She opened a bottle of Cabernet and poured herself a large glass. She had imagined the warmth filtering down into her stomach, the tingling in her fingertips, but there was none of that, no warmth, no tingling, nothing, so she drained the glass and waited.

Linn Ullmann is the daughter of actress, author and director Liv Ullmann and director and screenwriter Ingmar Bergman.

THOUGHTS DURING READING: Not far enough in (~40 pages) to say if the storyline is good or not but two points have struck me thus far:

1) affected, forced and belaboured descriptions that say more about a writers’ workshop than sincere heartfelt scribbling:

exhibit 1: the brushing of the hair
exhibit 2: Liverpool FC

2) too many views of Ullman’s real-life family connections – it smacks of thinly veiled name-dropping and it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

exhibit 1: Fårö
exhibit 2: Liv

That said, I am intrigued enough to continue on…

Trivia – two hours south of Oslo is Arendal and a spit off shore is the island of Tromøy, where the main man and I hunkered down for a year. Knausgård’s book one of My Struggle (A Death in the Family, first published 2009) was set on that island, an estate just up and over from our gaff. SO, the point I am getting to is this bit in Ullman’s book:

The final part of his trilogy was to be about time. Jon planned to write a hymn to everything that endures and everything that falls apart.

It all seems connected in a plate of worms type way.

Dreadful is closest.
;O)

The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas

bookshelves: spring-2014, britain-wales, fraudio, india, newtome-author, published-2011, adventure, travel

Read from April 26 to 28, 2014

 

Read by Nerys Hughes

Description: Spanning decades and moving from the stark beauty of the Welsh landscape to the Himalayas and Kashmir, this is a story of bravery, courage and love.Within one exotic land lie the secrets of a lifetime…Newlywed Nerys Watkins leaves rural Wales for the first time in her life, to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India. Travelling from lonely Ladakh, high up in the Himalayas, Nerys discovers a new world in the lakeside city of Srinagar. Here, in the exquisite heart of Kashmir, the British live on carved wooden houseboats and dance, flirt and gossip as if there is no war.But the battles draw ever closer, and life in Srinagar becomes less frivolous when the men are sent away to fight. Nerys is caught up in a dangerous friendship, and by the time she is reunited with her husband, the innocent Welsh bride has become a different woman.Years later, when Mair Ellis clears out her father’s house, she finds an exquisite antique shawl, woven from the finest yarns and embroidered in the shades of lake water and mountain skies. Wrapped within its folds is a lock of child’s hair. Tracing her grandparents’ roots back to Kashmir, Mair embarks on a quest that will change her life forever.

A lovely story about searching for roots, and includes just about everything you would ever need to know about kasmiri yarn, cashmere, from goat to shawl. Missionary work is a horrible idea isn’t it – imagine having a bible black, fire and brimstone Chapel minister ramming a harsh God down your throat: oh! those colonial ideas. **shudder**

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje

bookshelves: autumn-2011, published-2011, radio-4, seven-seas

Read from October 07 to 22, 2011

 

** spoiler alert **

Book at Bedtime in 10 episodes.

Blurbies – The Cat’s Table follows the course of a 21 day voyage from Colombo to Tilbury on a luxury passenger ship called the Oronsay.

It is the early nineteen-fifties and the eleven year old Michael whose parents’ turbulent marriage has resulted in his mother living in England for the past three or four years, is being sent to join her in London. He becomes friends with two other young boys – Cassius and Ramadhin who are also seated at the table, dubbed the Cat’s Table by one of their fellow diners, which is the lowliest of the low, the other end of the scale from The Captain’s Table. For the next three weeks these children have the run of the boat, they are invisible to authority, literally and emotionally feral. They feel their way amongst the adult world, observing and being baffled by the overheard conversations and secret glances. It is a journey towards an understanding of maturity, a journey which forges friendships and lays the foundations of love as well as of betrayal.

Among their fellow passengers are the exuberant travelling pianist Mr Mazappa; a botanist transporting a miraculously exotic garden of powerful and dangerous plants all growing in the hold of the ship; the enigmatic Ms Lasqueti and her prize pigeons; a troupe of acrobatic performers with remarkable powers of discernment and the mysterious and terrifying prisoner whose nightly exercise is observed by the breathless boys. The lives of all those on board become entwined in a compelling narrative whose events have an impact which ripples out into the future and the world of adulthood.

Abridged by Jill Waters Read by Sam Dastor

Produced by Jill Waters A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

The Lewis Man (Lewis Trilogy, #2) by Peter May

bookshelves: nutty-nuut, e-book, gr-library, britain-scotland, series, published-2011, spring-2014, mystery-thriller, bucolic-or-pastoral, bullies, casual-violence, contemporary, cover-love, dodgy-narrator, families, handbag-read, hebridean, lifestyles-deathstyles, mental-health, ouch, protestant, religion, roman-catholic, those-autumn-years, tragedy

Read from March 19 to 20, 2014

Description: A MAN WITH NO NAME. An unidentified corpse is recovered from a Lewis peat bog; the only clue to its identity being a DNA sibling match to a local farmer. A MAN WITH NO MEMORY. But this islander, Tormod Macdonald – now an elderly man suffering from dementia – has always claimed to be an only child. A MAN WITH NO CHOICE. When Tormod’s family approach Fin Macleod for help, Fin feels duty-bound to solve the mystery.

Dedication: In memory of my dad

‘That is where they live:
Not here and now, but where all happened once.’

– from ‘The Old Fools’ by Philip Larkin

Opening: On this storm-lashed island three hours off the north-west coast of Scotland, what little soil exists gives the people their food and their heat. It also takes their dead. And very occasionally, as today, gives one up.

Mona and Finn say their goodbyes just down the cobbles from St. Giles on the Golden Mile; sixteen years, ~20% of their lives just written off, and now deeper strangers than they ever had been when they first met. So it’s back to the womb, amongst the Wee Frees on the Isle of Lewis, for our hero Finn.

An eye-scorcher that has definitely ratcheted up a couple of notches from the first book. This is a fictionalised story set around the factual and gruelling Roman Catholic practice of sending orphaned kids to the islands to work as slaves.

Sphagnum bog

Beinn Ruigh Choinnich/Ben Kenneth, S. Uist. Strong Roman Catholic community.

Oiled wool Eriskay jumpers: the individual family patterns were as good as a fingerprint.

The Dean Gallery is an art gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is part of the National Galleries of Scotland. It was opened in 1999, opposite the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, which is its sister gallery. In 2011 the buildings were renamed Modern Art Two and Modern Art One respectively. The building was originally an orphanage, designed in 1830 by Thomas Hamilton. The conversion of the building into a gallery was designed by Terry Farrell. Since its opening it has housed the Paolozzi Gift, a collection of his works given to the Gallery of Modern Art in 1994 by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi. It contains a large collection of Dada and Surrealist art and literature, much of which was given by Gabrielle Keiller. It is also used for temporary exhibitions. (wiki sourced)

3.5* The Blackhouse (Lewis Trilogy, #1)
5* The Lewis Man (Lewis Trilogy, #2)
TR The Chessmen (Lewis Trilogy, #3)

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Playing for His Life by John Peacock

bookshelves: winter-20132014, anti-semitic, sport, nazi-related, wwii, published-2011, fradio, radio-4

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Read from January 31 to February 01, 2014

 

Thankee Brazilliant!

Desciption: Already under Gestapo Surveillance, tennis ace Baron Gottfried Von Cramm, married but secretly homosexual, offends Hitler, by refusing to join the Nazi Party. He believes himself to be safe as long as he remains Germany’s number one and winning. ‘But I must win. I can’t lose, and I can’t quit.’ He was left playing for his life.

Producer/Director: Celia de Wolff
A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4

1931 portrait of Gottfried von Cramm

From wiki: The Nazis wanted to exploit his blonde good looks as a symbol of Aryan supremacy, but he refused to identify with Nazism. In the war, he was discharged from the military because of frostbite.

This was a heartbreaker. Especially recommended for bulletpoint Karen bulletpoint

Crimes of Mancunia by Michael Symmons Roberts

bookshelves: poetry, mystery-thriller, music, published-2011, winter-20132014, under-10-ratings, radio-4, manchester, britain-england, love, noir

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from January 30 to 31, 2014

Sinead Keenan as DCI Lise Lazard and Danielle Henry as CHIZ

Description: Criminals’ loved ones are being kidnapped around Manchester. When the kidnapper starts asking for very specific amounts of ransom money, word soon spreads that he is an ex-cop with a dangerous grudge against the criminal community. DCI Lise Lazard and DI Mikey Finn take up the case before time runs out for the kidnapper’s victims. A noir drama in verse by Michael Symmons Roberts.

Producer: Charlotte Riches
Director: Susan Roberts

Listen Here

The music: (MMChq) I AM KLOOT Morning rain

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