The Bones of Paris mixes the macabre with the insouciant in a complex tale of suspense set in the late 1920s, in a world struggling to overcome the effects of the First World War and yet to be touched by the Depression and the next military conflagration. American private investigator Harris Stuyvesant is hired to find Philippa Crosby, a young New York woman who’s vanished from the City of Lights. Stuyvesant is happy for the job but he has a complicated past that includes a love affair with an emotionally and physically wounded English woman and a deep friendship with her war-damaged brother, both of whom play pivotal roles in the story, as well as a five-day fling with the missing woman who is half his age.
Confident that Pip is ensconced with a new lover or off on brief holiday, Stuyvesant searches through cafes and art galleries for clues to her whereabouts. The trail leads the gruff detective through the seedier parts of Paris where American expats, thrill-seeking tourists, and a cadre of successful and struggling artists mix and mingle. No matter how diligently he searches, he finds no signs of Pip and grows increasingly concerned.
At the Theatre du Grand-Guignol, Stuyvesant is introduced to bizarre entertainment that alternates comedy with naturalistic horror. Hardly an innocent, he is stunned by the brutal crimes skillfully re-created before a gleeful audience. This grisly sentiment sets the tone for the tangled tale in which Pip’s disappearance turns out to be just one piece in a larger, disturbing puzzle.
Paris is built on bones, quite literally atop the former limestone quarries that have been transformed into catacombs and filled with the skeletal remains of the long dead. While the streets of the living are peopled with the rich and famous – Man Ray, Hemingway, Picasso, Sylvia Beach and Dashiell Hammett, to name a few – King draws upon the harsh, ugly aura of these darker dungeons to drench her story in sinister intrigue.
The Bones of Paris follows Touchstone, the first Harris Stuyvesant novel by Laurie R. King, the best-selling and award-winning author of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, the Kate Martinelli books and four stand-alone novels.