Item description for The Strange Death of Napoleon Bonaparte by Jerry Labriola...
The controversial death of Napoleon is examined in a suspense novel that combines equal parts mystery and rich historical detail.
American historian and international treasure hunter, Paul D'Arneau, is licking his wounds after his iconoclastic views and unconventional research methods cost him his lofty university position. When a mysterious invitation from Gens de Verite, an ancient and secretive organization formed in France after the fall of Napoleon in 1815, arrives to offer Paul a chance to solve history's greatest and most controversial mysteries, he is intrigued. Was the emperor murdered or did he die a natural death?
Renowned for his expertise in forensics, esteemed for his rectitude in the shadowy world that trades in cultural artifacts, Paul seizes the opportunity. He quickly realizes his efforts to penetrate the secrets hidden in musty documents and oral histories of Napoleonic lore could cost him his life. He struggles to understand why the truth about Napoleon's death poses such a threat to the warring factions that zealously guard their historical turf, and little known details about Napoleon's life emerge.
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After his first exposure to forensic pathology while serving in the U.S. Navy, Dr. Jerry Labriola practiced medicine for 35 years and was an Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut Medical School. He is the author of seven mystery novels. He is also coauthor with renowned forensic scientist, Dr. Henry Lee, of four books dealing with forensic science: Famous Crimes Revisited; Dr. Henry Lee's Forensic Files; The Budapest Connection; and Shocking Cases. In the first two, they examine 12 well-known criminal cases, including Charles Lindbergh, Sam Sheppard, JFK, Vincent Foster, JonBenet Ramsey, O.J. Simpson, Scott Peterson, and the abduction of Elizabeth Smart. Their most recent book includes the Phil Spector case and Dr. Lee's experiences identifying bodies in the genocide atrocities in Bosnia and Croatia. Dr. Labriola's latest work =ust released is a mystery/suspense novel titled, Scent of Danger.
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Mysteries Magazine review Mar 18, 2008
One of the world's most famous "cold cases," the death of Napoleon Bonaparte while in exile on the island of St. Helena in 1821, six years after his defeat at Waterloo, has long been a source of controversy. Some claim he died from arsenic poisoning, either deliberately killed by French royalists or British assassins, or accidentally through exposure to the toxin, which was prevalent in such things as wallpaper, glue, and hair products. Others attribute his death to stomach cancer, from which both his father and one of his sisters had died. (See Mysteries issue #9) Mystery novelist and forensic medical expert Dr. Jerry Labriola's The Strange Death of Napoleon Bonaparte takes up the controversy in a narrative that combines a suspense thriller with rich historical detail. Paul D'Arneau, the novel's protagonist, is a renowned historian who has just been asked to leave his faculty position at Yale over a dispute with administration officials about his unconventional research methods. In particular, his manuscript on the death of Napoleon, in which he cited a number of murder suspects, including Charles Maurice de Tallyrand-Perigord, a leader of the French Revolution, infuriates university officials, who demand his resignation. Though a tenured professor, D'Arneau complies with the request to avoid an ugly scene, and while contemplating his future, he is contacted by email by the mysterious Gens de Vérité, a Parisian outfit that offers him a million-dollar commission to solve the mystery of Napoleon's death once and for all.
But the Gens de Vérité are not necessarily straight-shooters and time and again, D'Arneau has problems with one or the other of its members. But with the help of his sidekick and lover, Jean, D'Arneau perseveres and comes to a conclusion that may surprise readers.
Not only has author Jerry Labriola written a series of mystery novels involving Dr. David Brooks, but he has already tackled real-life mysteries with renowned forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee, examining such well-known cases as the Lindbergh kidnapping, the mysterious death of JonBenet Ramsey, O.J. Simpson, and the murder of Elizabeth Smart, thus bringing a credible and compelling voice to the mystery. Readers of historical fiction as well as mystery buffs will find this a gripping tale that is hard to put down. --Charles Rammelkamp Mysteries Magazine issue #20
A fictionalized history lesson Dec 17, 2007
In his didactic novel The Strange Death of Napoleon Bonaparte, Jerry Labriola tells the unlikely story of a (soon to be ex-) Yale history professor, Paul D'Arneau, who is approached by an enigmatic private organization interested in hiring him to investigate the death of Napoloeon: did the Emperor die of natural causes, or was he murdered? The group's offer is more than generous, a six-figure sum in payment for Paul's investigations, with all expenses paid, and the potential for a million-dollar bonus should he uncover something definitive. Paul accepts the job and spends all of two weeks on the investigation, a whirlwind of travel to Paris, Elba, and St. Helena. He meets with the various members of the group that has engaged him and, per their instructions and with their help (so that one wonders why they needed to hire him at all), he talks to a bunch of "histarians"--a loose confederation of amateur historians who are privy to historical information they refuse for some reason to divulge by phone. There is some element that doesn't want Paul to dig into Napoleon's death, so that his trip is not without its dangers. Still, Paul uncovers the truth in the end. It is hard to believe that anyone would conduct a scholarly investigation in the manner here described, but one can't argue with results.
Labriola's book is punctuated by explanatory historical texts--excerpts from Paul's notes, for example--which the author himself predicts readers may want to skip. The book's dialogue is unrealistically formal, and the narrative surrounding it is labored:
"Paul inquired about Jean's work and her general well being and apologized for not having done so during earlier calls.
"'My job's never boring so I'll always like it. And except for missing you, I feel fine. Still a little worried, but fine. Take care, Paul; you sound exhausted. Spread things out. Get some rest.'"
As a piece of fiction, The Strange Death of Napoleon Bonaparte does not succeed. It is more of a fictionalized history lesson, and approached as such it might be of interest to readers curious about matters Napoleonic.
-- Debra Hamel
An original and highly recommended read! Nov 4, 2007
The author of seven mystery novels and co-author of three forensic medicine books, physician Jerry Labriola turns his writing talents to a fictionalized account of the mysterious death of Napoleon Bonaparte that has intrigued researchers and historians for the better part of the last two hundred years. "The Strange Death Of Napoleon Bonaparte" is the story of American historian and international treasure hunter Paul D'Arneau whose iconoclastic views and unconventional research methods lost him his university position. When he receives an unexpected invitation from the executive committee of 'Gens de Verite' (an ancient and secretive organized formed in France after the Fall of Bonaparte in 1815), he seized the chance to solve one of history's most famous 'cold cases'. This carefully crafted novel draws upon its author's years of experience in forensic medicine to give the reader a superbly detailed mystery that leads to an unexpected but quite plausible conclusion regarding the death of the exiled Napoleon, a man who'd once made the nations of Europe tremble -- but ended his days on a remote and isolated island under guard. "The Strange Death Of Napoleon Bonaparte" is an original and highly recommended read!
Highly recommend for lovers of a good mytery.. Nov 4, 2007
Labriola has done a masterful job of weaving this tale, a fictional Bonaparte who-dun-it. Blending fact with fiction, the fabric of the story is so tight it is difficult to determine what is real and what is imagined.
I highly recommend lovers of a good mystery to purchase a copy of Jerry Labriola's "The Strange Death of Napoleon Bonaparte."
A perilous journey Oct 28, 2007
Even if you are not a history buff, The Strange Death of Napoleon Bonaparte will tickle your fancy for adventure, intrigue, romance and, above all, mystery. With one foot in the past and one very much in the present, our hero Dr. Paul D'Arneau treads a dangerous trail in search of the truth: was Napoleon murdered. Ignoring the PASS AT YOUR PERIL signs written in blood and bullets, D'Arneau forges on to discover.....Read the book.