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The Affair of the Poisons - Murder, Infanticide and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV by Anne Somerset, 377 pages (Hardcover)

The Affair of the Poisons, as it became known, was an extraordinary episode that took place in France during the reign of Louis XIV. When poisoning and black magic became widespread, arrests followed. Suspects included those among the highest ranks of society. Many were tortured and numerous executions resulted.

In the French Court of the period, where sexual affairs were numerous, ladies were not shy of seeking help from the murlier elements of the Parisian underworld, and fortune tellers supplemented their dubious trade by selling poison.

It was not long before the authorities were led to believe that Louis XIV was at risk, with every hint of danger investigated. Rumours abounded and no-one the King decreed, no matter how grand would be spared having to account for their conduct.

The Royal Court was soon thrown into disarray. The Mistress of the Robes and a distinguished general were among the early suspects. But they paled into insignificance when the King's mistress was incriminated.

Anne Somerset has gone back to original sources, letters and earlier accounts of the affair. By the end of her account she makes firm conclusions on various crucial matters.

'The Affair of the Poisons' is an enthralling account of a bizarre period in French history.
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