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   A Treasury of Regrets
 

A Treasury of Regrets

Author: Alleyn, Susanne Set In . . .
 Europe, France, Paris
Genre: Historical Novel
Time Frame: 1700s
Published: 2007
Description: 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.

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.

Library Journal: Best Books 2007

The arrest of a Paris kitchen maid, for the poisoning of wealthy Martin Dupont, owner of the house where she works, is the simple yet effective introduction to Susanne Alleyn's A Treasury of Regrets, an 18th-century mystery embellished by the drama of France's tumultuous post-revolution years. In a society still shadowed by the guillotine and haunted by its victims, mundane crime and punishment remain an issue.

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.

Ms. Alleyn skillfully portrays a household of suspects where crimes multiply while the unfortunate and innocent servant girl lies in a squalid jail cell. In the course of an investigation that takes him into hidden and forbidden corners of Parisian society, Ravel has to cope with revelations of his own past, and he is forced to relive the horror of the days when thousands of heads fell to the guillotine.

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

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

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.
-- Booklist

Alleyn's historical authenticity--extending to a bibliography, glossary and other explanatory features--lif
  
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