Thrillers set in Paris

Paris! What a better place for mystery. Such an intriguing setting. A body found in the Seine, Cold War spies, World War II subversions and escapes, art and history crimes. There are many crime and thriller novels set in our fair city full of phantoms.

Think ahead for great Paris-themed Christmas gifts. Offer your friends or family thrillers set in Paris! What a better place for a mysterious setting. Or a memoir about how funny life can be here for the expat. Or browse our Paris/France selection for just the right book about historic restaurants, Paris walks, Paris movies, Paris design and fashion. We have a wide variety on a special shelf.

Here’s a few of the thrillers set in Paris to whet your whistle.

Thrillers set in Paris

Cara Black is a bestselling American mystery writer. She is best known for her Aimée Leduc mystery novels featuring a female Paris-based private investigator. Her first novel Murder in the Marais was nominated for an Anthony Award for best first novel and the third novel in the series, Murder in the Sentier, was Anthony-nominated for Best Novel. Cara, quoted in an interview with ParisVoice, says she did not base her detective Aimée Leduc on a real person. « I knew I couldn’t write as a French woman, I can’t even tie my scarf the right way, but I grew up in a Francophile family; my father loved good food and wine and I lived in Europe when I was younger. I interviewed three female detectives in Paris who ran their own detective agency and took qualities from each. It was important to me that Aimée be a young, contemporary woman like the Parisian women I know, have a strong fashion sense and be fierce in her pursuit of justice. »

The Book Room has 4 Cara Black books and three of them are signed by the author.

  • Murder Below Montparnasse, 2013, 8€.
  • Murder in Belleville, 2000, 8€.
  • Murder in the Marais, 1998, 8€.
  • Three Hours in Paris, 2020, 8€.

Thrillers set in Paris

Alan Furst, widely recognized as the master of the historical spy novel, is the author of A Hero of France, Midnight in Europe, Mission to Paris, and many other bestsellers. Born in New York, he lived for many years in Paris. The Book Room has these titles in stock.

  • MISSION TO PARIS, 2013, 4€. Late summer, 1938. Hollywood film star Fredric Stahl is on his way to Paris to make a movie. The Nazis know he’s coming—a secret bureau within the Reich has been waging political warfare against France, and for their purposes, Fredric Stahl is a perfect agent of influence. What they don’t know is that Stahl, horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become part of an informal spy service run out of the American embassy. Mission to Paris is filled with heart-stopping tension, beautifully drawn scenes of romance, and extraordinarily alive characters: foreign assassins; a glamorous Russian actress-turned-spy; and the women in Stahl’s life. At the center of the novel is the city of Paris—its bistros, hotels grand and anonymous, and the Parisians, living every night as though it were their last.
  • RED GOLD, 2002, 4€. Autumn 1941: In a shabby hotel off the place Clichy, the course of the war is about to change. German tanks are rolling toward Moscow. Stalin has issued a decree: All partisan operatives are to strike behind enemy lines—from Kiev to Brittany. Set in the back streets of Paris and deep in occupied France, Red Gold moves with quiet menace as predators from the dark edge of war—arms dealers, lawyers, spies, and assassins—emerge from the shadows of the Parisian underworld.
  • KINGDOM OF SHADOWS, 2001. 6€. Paris, 1938. As Europe edges toward war, Nicholas Morath, an urbane former cavalry officer, spends his days working at the small advertising agency he owns and his nights in the bohemian circles of his Argentine mistress. But Morath has been recruited by his uncle, Count Janos Polanyi, a diplomat in the Hungarian legation, for operations against Hitler’s Germany. It is Morath who does Polanyi’s clandestine work, moving between the beach cafés of Juan-les-Pins and the forests of Ruthenia, from Czech fortresses in the Sudetenland to the private gardens of the déclassé royalty in Budapest. The web Polanyi spins for Morath is deep and complex and pits him against German intelligence officers, NKVD renegades, and Croat assassins in a shadow war of treachery and uncertain loyalties, a war that Hungary cannot afford to lose. Alan Furst is frequently compared with Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, and John le Carré, but Kingdom of Shadows is distinctive and entirely original. It is Furst at his very best.
  • DARK VOYAGE, 2005, 4€. An epic tale of war and espionage, of spies and fugitives, of love in secret hotel rooms, of courage in the face of impossible odds. Dark Voyage is taut with suspense and pounding with battle scenes; it is authentic, powerful, and brilliant.

Thrillers set in Paris


A true story of murder and mesmerism by an editor of The Washington Post. Though non-fiction it is a delicious account of a murder most gallic. Little Demon in the City of Light is the thrilling—and so wonderfully French—story of a gruesome 1889 murder of a lascivious court official at the hands of a ruthless con man and his mistress and the international manhunt, sensational trial, and an inquiry into the limits of hypnotic power that ensued. In France at the end of the nineteenth century a great debate raged over the question of whether someone could be hypnotically compelled to commit a crime in violation of his or her moral convictions. When Toussaint-Augustin Gouffé entered 3, rue Tronson du Coudray, he expected nothing but a delightful assignation with the comely young Gabrielle Bompard. Instead, he was murdered—hanged!—by her and her companion Michel Eyraud. The body was then stuffed in a trunk and dumped on a riverbank near Lyon. As the inquiry into the guilt or innocence of the woman the French tabloids dubbed the « Little Demon » escalated, the most respected minds in France debated whether Gabrielle Bompard was the pawn of her mesmerizing lover or simply a coldly calculating murderess. And, at the burning center of it all: Could hypnosis force people to commit crimes against their will? 2 copies 4/5€.

The Book Room also has a copy of Pierre Assouline’s biography of Georges Simenon (1997, 6€). Simenon was the preeminent French thriller writer and creator of Commissaire Maigret. You have to know about Maigret to understand the French. This is an enthralling biography of a man whose life was the stuff of fiction. Numbering more than 400 in all, including the beloved Inspector Maigret stories, Georges Simenon’s novels have been translated into 50 languages, with sales exceeding 500 million worldwide. Now, drawing on unprecedented access to Simenon’s papers, family and friends, Pierre Assouline gives readers the utterly absorbing story of this tormented and egomaniacal genius of literary mass production of thrillers set in Paris. Unfortuneately we don’t have any Simenon books in stock!

Thrillers set in Paris

SUSPENDED SENTENCES: Three Novellas now published together which make a whoe by  Patrick Modiano Nobel and Goncourt winner. Although originally published separately, Patrick Modiano’s three novellas form a whole, haunted by the same gauzy sense of place and characters. Modiano draws on his own experiences, blended with the real or invented stories of others, to present a dreamlike autobiography that is also the biography of a place. Orphaned children, mysterious parents, forgotten friends, enigmatic strangers—each appears in this three-part love song to a Paris that no longer exists. In this superb English-language translation of Afterimage, Suspended Sentences, and Flowers of Ruin, Mark Polizzotti captures not only Modiano’s distinctive narrative voice but also the matchless grace and spare beauty of his prose. In 2014 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for « the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.” 2014, 5€.

CITY OF DARK by Claire Dickinson, 2019, 4€. A thriller set in the Paris catacombs. The city’s subterranean shadow. Hundreds of kilometers of tunnels. A land of history and legend, where the underground explorer treads a fine line between reality and irreality. As the top inspector on the counter-terror squad, Khalid Sadiqi thought he knew everything there was to know about the City of Light’s weak spots. But this is new. This is the City of Dark. Seeking to learn more about the world below the city, Sadiqi stumbles on the impish help of Antonia Corrigan. The vibrant young engineer heartens the jaded inspector. Not only can she wend her way through her underground playground with lively agility, she also knows all the myths and legends that will prove to be the key to unlocking the mysteries. But will her knowledge of the tunnels below ground be enough to stop the mayhem above?

Thrillers set in France

On the lighter side and set outside Paris is the Bruno, Chief of Police Series by Martin Walker. This delightful, internationally acclaimed series features Benoît Courrèges, aka Bruno, is a former soldier turned policeman, who has embraced the pleasures and slow rhythms of country life in the idyllic village of St. Denis in the South of France. But a series of murders, intrigues, and other crimes soon interrupt his peace and quiet. In the Mystery of the French Countryside novels, Bruno must balance his beloved routines—living in his restored shepherd’s cottage, shopping at the local market, drinking wine—with his thrilling detective duties.

  • BRUNO CHIEF OF POLICE, book 1. 2008, 4€
  • BLACK DIAMOND, book 3, 2010, 4€.

Of course there’s the classic THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA by Gaston Leroux. Our 1994 version costs just 4€

Joanne Harris’s CHOCOLAT and THE LOLLIPOP SHOES are not Thrillers set in Paris per se, but certainly a thrilling read! 3-4€ each

2 septembre 2022 8 h 44 min

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