The Black Tower* is a FFF of a different sort. This is not Louis Bayard's first novel. It is not even his first historical novel.
The mystery behind the identity and survival of a man-child who might be the lost son of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette fuels this rich, layered and energetic historical, and introduces to mystery readers Eugene Francois Vidocq, a colorful, resourceful and notorious criminal who became the world's first modern detective.
In real life, Vidocq, a fugitive from French justice before offering his services as a police spy and informer, was later named the first chief of the Sûreté. He was credited with:
a. being the first to introduce record keeping, criminalistics, and the science of ballistics into police work;
b. the first to make plaster-of-paris casts of foot/shoe impressions;
c. the first to patent indelible ink and unalterable bond paper;
d. founding the first modern detective agency and credit bureau.
Cleverly weaving historical details with conspiracies; webs of murders and intrigue with humor and heart; real-life as well as fictional characters; this intelligent and engaging thriller will keep you guessing after the last page is turned.
* = Starred reviews