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[Blog Tour] 'The Shadows of Versailles' (An Affair of the Poisons, Book One) By Cathie Dunn #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMystery

Posted on the 17 May 2021 by Loup Dargent @loup_dargent

[Blog Tour] 'The Shadows of Versailles' (An Affair of the Poisons, Book One) By Cathie Dunn #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMystery

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The Book:

The Shadows of Versailles
(An Affair of the Poisons Book One)
By Cathie Dunn

  • Publication Date: November 20th, 2020
  • Publisher: Ocelot Press
  • Page Length: 251 (ebook) / 277 (pb)
  • Genre: historical fiction / mystery

The Blurb:

Dazzled by Versailles. Broken by tragedy. Consumed by revenge.
When Fleur de La Fontaine attends the court of King Louis XIV for the first time, she is soon besotted with handsome courtier, Philippe de Mortain. She dreams of married life away from her uncaring mother, but Philippe keeps a secret from her.
Nine months later, after the boy she has given birth to in a convent is whisked away, she flees to Paris where she mends gowns in the brothel of Madame Claudette, a woman who helps ‘fallen’ girls back on their feet.
Jacques de Montagnac investigates a spate of abducted children when his path crosses Fleur’s. He searches for her son, but the trail leads to a dead end – and a dreadful realisation.
Her boy’s suspected fate too much to bear, Fleur decides to avenge him. She visits the famous midwife, La Voisin, but it’s not the woman’s skills in childbirth that Fleur seeks.
La Voisin dabbles in poisons.
Will Fleur see her plan through? Or can she save herself from a tragic fate?
Delve into The Shadows of Versailles and enter the sinister world of potions, poisoners and black masses during the Affairs of the Poisons, a real event that stunned the court of the Sun King!

[Blog Tour] 'The Shadows of Versailles' (An Affair of the Poisons, Book One) By Cathie Dunn #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMystery

Shadows of Versailles - Front Cover

 'The Shadows of Versailles' - Excerpt:

(From Chapter Two:)
Châtelet, Paris
Jacques de Montagnac approached the gate of the Grand Châtelet. The stench of blood and carcasses from the streets lingered in the air, even though it was late evening. The lack of street lighting, recently introduced in the finer quarters of Paris, made walking through the streets around the headquarters of the new police force treacherous. He didn’t want to leave a trace on his worn leather boots of where he had been.
His hood drawn deep over his face, he looked around but found no proof of anyone following him. He slipped through the gateway that let into an inner courtyard. Cries and moans from prisoners locked up in the many oubliettes reached him. The poor devils. Jacques had seen the maze of small cells, and they weren’t a pretty sight. Many a man never left them alive.
Taking a deep breath, which he regretted instantly, he turned to the far side, towards the door to the offices of the Lieutenant General of the police, Gabriel Nicolas de La Reynie. This wasn’t Jacques’ first visit. In fact, he’d long lost count of the number of times he reported back to his superior. Ever since he’d joined La Reynie’s extensive spy network five years earlier.
He’d been so naïve! Aged nineteen, and with a confidence far exceeding his diminished funds, he’d presented himself to the Lieutenant General. Jacques grinned as he climbed the stairs two at a time. On La Reynie’s request, he’d had to prove himself by blending into the underworld of Paris. But he’d had to work hard for it.
“Good evening,” a fellow officer greeted him in passing. “He’s awaiting your company.”
Jacques nodded. Eventually, outside de la Reynie’s office, he pulled back his hood and straightened.
At his knock on the door, he heard the gruff voice of his superior. “Come in!”
Around him, the corridor was deserted. Still, it was worth to check. His life depended on secrecy. He slipped inside the office and lowered his head. “Lieutenant General.”
“Jacques, please sit.” La Reynie never wasted time with polite conversation so beloved by the nobility.
Jacques sat as bid and waited until his superior had placed a note into a file, then moved it to a shelf behind him.
“I’ve not seen you in over a week. Has something happened?”
The man’s sharp eyes met his. Nothing seemed to escape him.
“Yes, sir.” Jacques leaned forward, placing his elbows on his legs. “There is trouble brewing.”
La Reynie laughed. “There always is. Tell me something new!”
Jacques remained serious. “Some of the charlatans are getting devious. There has been a rise in abductions of infants.”
The Lieutenant General leaned back in his seat and folded his hands in his lap. “I’ve learned about the disappearance of several babies. Continue.”
“They are alive when they’re taken, sir. Many women in the quartiers around the former Court of Miracles worry about this. I’ve spoken to six new mothers who were told their baby had been stillborn, yet they could hear a child’s whimper when the midwives took them away.”
“Is it one particular midwife, or do they work hand in hand?”
“Oh, most definitely more than one. I have no names as yet, but I’ll get them for you.”
“Thank you. Do you think it is intentional? They deceive the mothers, removing their children against their will?”
Jacques nodded. “Yes. The men in charge of the thieves and cutpurses brush off any questions about it. I believe they have a hand in it, or at least know who does.”
La Reynie stood and walked to the window overlooking the River Seine. “We have problems finding out the truth from that quartier. You’re one of the few men on the inside, and I'm aware of the danger you put yourself into every day is real.” He turned to face Jacques, his mouth in a thin line. “We lost Etienne two weeks ago. I have no idea what gave him away.”
Jacques nodded faintly. “Ah. I’d been wondering if something had happened to him.”
“His body floated in the Seine,” La Reynie said drily. “My men fished him out last Sunday morning. His throat was cut.”
Jacques hung his head. “I’m sorry, sir.” He hadn’t particularly liked Etienne, but the man had been a comforting presence in the den of cut-throats, thieves and scheming alchemists. It confirmed his suspicion that he must look over his shoulder all the time.
“Do you know what he was working on last?”
“Not in detail.” Jacques shook his head, meeting his superior’s gaze. “When I last spoke to him, he said he’d uncovered something linked to black masses. But he didn’t share his findings with me.”
“But you think the black masses are linked to the missing children?”
“It makes sense. But it has to be a fairly important person to demand such a risky sacrifice. I’d imagine a high price.”
“Like courtiers.”
Jacques nodded. “Yes.”
“But no names came up?”
“No. I’ve heard of several persons having visited herbalists, or whatever they like to call themselves, but they’re very secretive, often sending servants in their place. That reminds me, how goes the search for the Marquise de Brinvilliers? Rumour has it she is in the Spanish Netherlands.”
A sly smile played on La Reynie’s lips. “She might be. Or in England. We are on her trail, although she tries to trick us by moving around various nunneries.”
“The news should send some people in the quartiers scurrying into their dens,” Jacques mused.
“And that’s why you, Jacques, are best placed to discover who these rats are that are going into hiding.”
Jacques didn’t like the smug look on La Reynie’s face, his thin smile and challenging glance. Everything the Lieutenant General did served a purpose. He did not waste time. “What would you like me to do?”
“There is a specific priest Desgrez has been watching, but he might be aware of it. Abbé Guibourg. There is something about him, but we have no proof of wrongdoing so far. Here is the address.” La Reynie handed Jacques a note, and he slid it into his inner coat pocket. “Keep your ears open to any gossip!”
“I shall. And what about the stolen babies?”
“Yes, keep digging. I want to discover who organises those black masses – and who attends them. People would pay a lot of money for them.” De la Reynie returned to his seat and leaned forward, elbows on his large desk. “Who knows – these incidences are likely linked.”
“That’s what I think, sir. Is that all?”
“It is, for today. Report back to me by next Monday if you can.” The Lieutenant General gave him a sharp nod, then picked up a file on his right.
Jacques stood and took his leave. As he opened the door, La Reynie said, “And Jacques?”
He turned, pulling his hood up. “Sir?”
“Be careful!”

[Blog Tour] 'The Shadows of Versailles' (An Affair of the Poisons, Book One) By Cathie Dunn #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMystery

Cathie Dunn

Author Bio:

Cathie Dunn writes historical fiction, mystery, and romance.
Cathie has been writing for over twenty years. She studied Creative Writing, with a focus on novel writing, which she now teaches in the south of France. She loves researching for her novels, delving into history books, and visiting castles and historic sites.
Her stories have garnered awards and praise from reviewers and readers for their authentic description of the past.
Cathie is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Alliance of Independent Authors.
After nearly two decades in Scotland, she now lives in the historic city of Carcassonne in the south of France with her husband, two cats and a rescue dog.

Connect with Cathie Dunn:

Website ✔ Twitter ✔ Facebook ✔ Instagram ✔ Pinterest 
BookBub 
✔ Amazon Author Page ✔ Goodreads 

[Blog Tour] 'The Shadows of Versailles' (An Affair of the Poisons, Book One) By Cathie Dunn #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMystery

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[Blog Tour] 'The Shadows Versailles' Affair Poisons, Book One) Cathie Dunn #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMystery [Blog Tour] 'The Shadows Versailles' Affair Poisons, Book One) Cathie Dunn #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMystery [Blog Tour] 'The Shadows Versailles' Affair Poisons, Book One) Cathie Dunn #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMystery [Blog Tour] 'The Shadows Versailles' Affair Poisons, Book One) Cathie Dunn #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMystery [Blog Tour] 'The Shadows Versailles' Affair Poisons, Book One) Cathie Dunn #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMystery [Blog Tour] 'The Shadows Versailles' Affair Poisons, Book One) Cathie Dunn #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMystery [Blog Tour] 'The Shadows Versailles' Affair Poisons, Book One) Cathie Dunn #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMystery [Blog Tour] 'The Shadows Versailles' Affair Poisons, Book One) Cathie Dunn #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMystery

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