Reading progress update: I've read 169 out of 371 pages.

Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Epoque Paris - Steven Levingston

In an attempt to break my reading slump, I went prowling my library's online holding and found this intriguing book. I've yet to read Twilight of the Belle Epoque (though this takes place during the events in Dawn of the Belle Epoque) so I thought it was a great chance to read a bit more into that time period. I'm a bit hesitant about True Crime stuff but I couldn't pass this up - a crazy murder containing hypnotism, international fleeing of the scene, and early forensic science set on the backdrop of Paris during a volatile time during it's history - who possibly could say no to this? And by and large, it's worked so far. I've breezed through 24 chapters of it and am close to half way through.

 

But it's weird. I'm not sure if the mystery is stranger or the environments surrounding it. The instability of the government, which I know from Dawn, was matched by the craziness of the society around it. Levingston talks about the cabarets - mentioning Moulin Rouge particularly (and I thought the movie talking about it was outlandish-o.0 ) - as well as the some of the issues that plagued many of the notable people of the time. While Victorian Britain is remembered as stuffy and America at the time puritanical - French society stood in line to look at dolled up corpses in the Morgue and bought small replicas of a trunk used to move the murder victim of the case out of Paris that were sold stuffed with chocolate instead.

 

I'm still creeped out by that. I knew it was a time of extremes and spectacle but I feel some of this was glossed over in Dawn. Though one can argue that this gives the reader too much of the other side. I've kinda found the two to be an interesting balance.