944: Blood Royal by Eric Jager

by Gerard


944.026092: Jager, Eric. Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2014. 336 pp. ISBN 978-0-3162-2451-2.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 940: History of Europe
  • 944: History of France
  • 944.02: Medieval period, 987 to 1589
  • 944.026: Reigns of Charles VI and Charles VII, 1380-1461
  • +092: Biography

In the 1660s, a magnificent scroll was discovered. At thirty feet long and dated to 1407, it contained the original investigations of the provost of Paris, a Monsieur Guillaume de Tigonville. He was tasked with an unenviable crime to solve: the death of Louis of Orleans. The death of a noble man was already enough stress to deal with, but Louis was a famous relative: his brother was the King of France. Charles VI, sometimes labeled the Beloved and other times called the Mad, periodically left the country under Louis’s rule when he wasn’t feeling well. And now the surrogate monarch had been murdered. Eric Jager’s Blood Royal sifts through the historical records to bring us a tale of treason, aristocratic intrigue, and medieval forensic techniques.

Tigonville’s investigation of the matter (which I won’t spoil here) is the first part of this book. He deposes many interesting (and many rather mundane) folks to get to the truth of the matter. The details provided in the scroll are both riveting and numerous. Once Tigonville’s  involvement ends, the book takes on a more academic flavor, describing the machinations of the various dukes of France after Louis’s death. Jager’s research is thorough and exciting and does its best to balance the salacious with the simple. I really this history of both Paris and police work in the 15th century. If it weren’t a real historical document, you’d swear this was a work of fiction. A pleasant and engaging read.