Sarah Maza, "Violette Noziere: A Story of Murder in 1930s Paris" (U California Press, 2012)


On August 21, 1933, the teenaged Violette Noziere attempted to kill both her parents. At first, seemingly so clearcut, the case ultimately came to be characterized by a "troubling ambiguity" that unsettled Paris for years. Were the Nozieresan upstanding middle-class family? Was Violette a victim of sexual assault, her father a heinous predator? Was Violette a sexual degenerate? In an age of unprecedented social mobility, had the family tragically overstepped, with the parents granting a wild daughter too much freedom? No one knew. It was the perfect cautionary tale of the time- giving voice to concerns of contemporary France's, fears of changing attitudes towards gender, class, industry, economics, art, everything. In Violette Noziere: A Story of Murder in 1930s Paris, Sarah Maza weaves together social history with an astute analysis of the times to paint a vivid portrait of Noziere's society, her circumstances and her crime. It's a gripping tale that provides an intimate glimpse into a period that is often overshadowed: Paris of the 1930s, transfixed by a story of parricide and incest, tensed for the war that is about to come.

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