The Paris Affair
by Susanne Dunlap
Publication Date: September 30, 2020
Paperback & eBook; 244 pages
Series: Theresa Schurmann Mystery, Book 3
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction
Apparently, false rumors about Marie Antoinette are all the fashion in 1783.
Marie Antoinette is facing hostility from the populace, inflamed by rumors circulated in pamphlets throughout Paris. The rumors claim that she has dozens of lovers, drinks the blood of poor people, holds satanic masses at Versailles, and more, when nothing could be further from the truth. On the advice of the handsome, enigmatic Captain von Bauer, Joseph II–emperor of Austria and Marie Antoinette’s brother–decides that mystery-solving violinist Theresa Schurman is the ideal candidate for a spy to discover the source of these vile slanders.
Theresa is only too glad to get away from Vienna for a while, unwilling to commit herself yet to marrying Zoltan–a Hungarian baron she met when she was fifteen–and running out of reasons to postpone her decision. She is eager, too, to explore a new musical scene and broaden her artistic education. But when the captain confounds her expectations and places her as a bookkeeper in the establishment of Rose Bertin, milliner to the queen, she begins to lose hope that she will ever achieve her musical aims–or the emperor’s goal of exposing the pamphleteers.
A chance encounter with the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, an extraordinary black violinist and expert swordsman, sets Theresa on the path to unraveling the mystery. But will the chevalier’s patron, the powerful duc de Chartres, confound her efforts and put her–and the captain’s–lives in danger?
Be prepared for music, mystery, love, and murder in this riveting tale of pre-revolutionary Paris.
“The settings and situations are enchanting and varied; Dunlap is adept at on-the-fly description and at lacing intrigue with romance…Dunlap proves an arresting tour guide through this rich milieu, summoning up the past without slowing down the storytelling. Author and protagonist alike boast an epigrammatic wit. The touch is light, but the scenery and chatter are sumptuous…Theresa stands as a fascinating protagonist, a woman whose nimble navigation of society’s expectations and several burgeoning romances are exciting and inspiring, even more so than the sleuthing that drives the novel’s plot. The people she encounters are likewise memorable, complex, and surprising, especially the chevalier…This sparkling historical mystery conjures up the salons, fashion, and gossip of Marie Antoinette’s Paris, with a winning emphasis on the power of music and the roles that society allowed women.” – The BookLife Prize
I was tempted to read this by the location; I love Paris, and am fascinated by the French court, so this was right up my street. Although it’s the third in a series, I would say that this really isn’t an issue. The author has written enough of the backstory in that it won’t annoy readers of the previous two, and gives just enough for new readers like me not to be left behind in how things have previously developed between Theresa and the enigmatic Captain, and why she is chosen to go on this mission undercover in Paris.
I thought the way the two worlds of Parisian culture in the 1780s was brilliantly captured, from the glamour of court, to the back-street brothel – but having said that, whichever world you existed in, there was still that element of putting on an act, being something you weren’t, and of course, the fragility that everything could come crashing down in a heartbeat. This was a dangerous time for so many people, and Theresa finds herself caught up in more than one layer of that.
I’d definitely recommend this to readers who like a historical mystery – you’re really drawn into finding out who is behind the rumours being spread about the queen…
About the Author
Susanne Dunlap is the author of nine works of historical fiction. A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in London, Brooklyn and Northampton, MA. She now lives in Northampton with her long-time partner, Charles, has two grown daughters, three granddaughters, a grandson, a stepson and a stepdaughter, five step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter—that’s a total of four children and eleven grandchildren!
In her spare time she cycles in the beautiful Pioneer Valley.
Blog Tour Schedule
Thursday, October 1
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Monday, October 5
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
Tuesday, October 6
Review at YA, It’s Lit
Wednesday, October 7
Review at Books and Zebras
Thursday, October 8
Excerpt at Turn The Page
Friday, October 9
Review & Excerpt at Bookworlder
Sunday, October 11
Review at Bitch Bookshelf
Monday, October 12
Review at Nursebookie
Tuesday, October 13
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews
Wednesday, October 14
Review at Book Bustle
Thursday, October 15
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Friday, October 16
Review at Passages to the Past
Saturday, October 17
Review at Reading is My Remedy
During the Blog Tour, one lucky reader will win signed copies of all 3 books in the Theresa Schurmann Mystery series! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on October 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.