The Countess's Portrait by James Davis

A beautiful and resourceful Parisian showgirl is thrust into the cutthroat world of international espionage at the turn of the nineteenth century.

When a mysterious and alluring portrait is delivered to Parisian showgirl Pigalle, it signals the beginning of a deadly quest for the portrait’s secrets that will not only change her life, but possibly the world itself.

As the 19th Century is enters its twilight years, the empire states’ of Europe are vying for mastery. Grown rich and powerful on the technological innovations of the Industrial Revolution, agents are involved in subterfuge all over the globe as nations’ seek a strategic edge.

In Montmartre, Parisian showgirl Pigalle De Vere is delivered a portrait with links to her own past and the parents she never knew. The trouble is, it also contains the key to discovering not just a fabled treasure, but the last work of a recently murdered British military inventor. Once snippets of intrigue about the implausible weapon he was working on surface, the race is on, and Pigalle, joined by the dashing but untrustworthy adventurer Chester Albany, soon finds herself thrust into a deadly game of intrigue.

Dogging her every step is the terrifying Emma Van Stark, head of a powerful cabal intent on harnessing acquiring new technology in order to build their influence.

  • Classification: Universal
  • Work is: Extract only on Authonomy
  • First submitted May 16, 2008
  • Last updated May 16, 2008
The Countess's Portrait
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  • Retired user
    strachan gordon wrote 3 years, 11 months ago
    An interesting twist on the detective genre also the place in time has never been deployed before , in this fashion , at least to my knowledge . I am fascinated by all periods of history and 'of course , the Belle Epoque era is one of the most fascinating. The writing is involving , inventive and sets a good pace . I shall certainly be reading on from the first chapter . Would you have time to look at ...
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  • Christa Wojo's avatar
    Christa Wojo wrote 5 years, 3 months ago

    I've had this on my shelf for a few days now, but I backed it immediately after the first chapter. A sassy Parisian showgirl detective? Who could resist! This is a refreshing idea and your writing is packed with description. I hope you get published. I would love to have this book.

    Good luck!

  • Retired user
    WendyB [Retired] wrote 5 years, 4 months ago
    I'm not crazy bout espionage, but love historical fiction, so I found this one interesting. Your vivid descriptions have carried us back into the life of Paris, and I was immediately charmed by the casual, warm relationship between Pigalle and Madame Bouvoir. I'll read on, and I know I'll be disappointed that more chapters haven't been posted. One small thing in chapter one: A hand "flew threw the mist". This should be "through". (Maybe one day Spellcheck will be able ...
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  • Retired user
    Burgio [Retired] wrote 5 years, 4 months ago

    This is a good story. On top of having a good character in Pigalle, it's like a wonderful trip through Paris. Chester makes a good contrast to Pigalle; they're a fun couple to follow as they unravel this mystery. Makes a good read. I'm adding this to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

  • soutexmex's avatar
    soutexmex wrote 5 years, 5 months ago

    Honore de Balzac this is not but the milieu is the same. I am sucker for historical fiction and this is on the scale of The Alienist. Interesting characters that you sold us with your pitches. SHELVED!

    I can use your comments on my book when you get a chance. Cheers!

    The Obergemau Key
    Authonomy's #1 rated commentator

  • Retired user
    lynn clayton [Retired] wrote 5 years, 5 months ago

    A great sense of the time. Beautiful prose. A high class thriller. Backed. Lynn

  • Nick Poole2's avatar
    Nick Poole2 wrote 5 years, 6 months ago
    ARISE, AUTHONOMY GHOST! Ease those weary, withered limbs from your coffin. Push away the stone from the mouth of the tomb. You have one last task to perform. One last, sacred shelf to confer. Whether you were plugger, spammer, gusher or troll, whether you flirted or fought in the forum or beavered away in the shadows, now is the time for your resurrection. One last time. Marshall your strength, muster the last vestiges of your power and carry out your ...
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  • Retired user
    B.Lloyd [Retired] wrote 5 years, 6 months ago

    read and backed this the first time it was up, before messageboards were brought in ; I remember the opening descriptions of the city at dawn, which struck me as very Puccinian and evocative.Original detective duo in period setting, good luck with it.

  • BrianneMichelle's avatar
    BrianneMichelle wrote 5 years, 11 months ago

    Hi James,
    I really enjoyed your first chapter and am looking forward to reading more. Out of curiosity, are you in the process of publishing your book? What are your plans for The Countess' Portrait? Have you found a literary agent yet?\

  • Sandie Newman's avatar
    Sandie Newman wrote 5 years, 11 months ago

    This was a joy to read, the pitch attracted me and the opening is rull of very rich descriptions which flow along so nicely, the opening is full of atmosphere and tense action. Shelved immediately.

    The Crown of Crysaldor

  • Retired user
    Agamemnon wrote 5 years, 12 months ago
    I enjoy a well crafted "historical" (it's my gendre too), and your hook drew me right away into the noisy bustling seamy life in the 19th century world. Read Ch 1-3. It's an easy read, but the pace crackles with evocative description and I really warmed to Pigalle.THere is little to nitpick with this, but ?trim a few adverbs here and there- but not too much, as IMHO, this type of gendre needs a little more richness in the prose ...
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  • Betty K's avatar
    Betty K wrote 5 years, 12 months ago
    This is an extremely interesting premise. I like how you start with an air of mystery and danger. A good gripping couple of chapters. With your wonderful word pictures you give us an excellent view of Paris in the early waking hours of the dawn. The writing is tight and Pigalle, a well-drawn character. Even on paper, she is so very French. I loved the sentence beginning "I like a challenge but..." She shrugged... I could see that so very ...
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  • Retired user
    Margaret Anthony [Retired] wrote 6 years ago

    What a brilliant start you have made with this story. I can 'feel' the place and the events from your descriptive writing and as a lover of Paris, it is even more meaningful. Historical fiction is my favourite genre and you do it great justiuce. Loved what I read and look forward to reading more. Happy to have this on my shelf. Margaret.

  • Retired user
    MDS [Retired] wrote 6 years ago
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  • Alecia Stone's avatar
    Alecia Stone wrote 6 years ago

    Hi James,

    Beautiful imagery. Your vivid descriptions give a good picture of the setting. Your prose is splendid. This is very polished and easy to read. Nice sentence structure and good pacing. I really enjoyed reading the first few chapters.

    “I don’t(.)” She smiled.

    “Really, you’re too kind, Edmund(,)” she said

    Just one or two punctuation errors.

    This is very well written and a compelling read.

    Will shelf when I clear a space first thing tomorrow.

    Shinzy :)

  • Retired user
    JANVIER wrote 6 years ago
    Hello James, Awesome!You have an intuitively observed story that got me hooked right away.The descriptive element is amazing and it is easy to see a brilliant plot unfolding right at the start.he smooth flow of the story, effective use of dialogue and narrative got me hook, an effect that it is certain to have on other readers. I read three chapters today and that will do for now. Overall, this is a well-written story with the potential to go very ...
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  • Peter Carlyle's avatar
    Peter Carlyle wrote 6 years ago

    Commented earlier. This is now on my shelf.


  • Peter Carlyle's avatar
    Peter Carlyle wrote 6 years ago

    Hi James,

    You capture sound, sight and smells very well. This is the sort of book readers would buy on the pitch and first page alone. It promises an enticing and exciting story fraught with danger.

    I'll put this on my shelf sometime next week.


  • Urania's avatar
    Urania wrote 6 years ago

    Lovely atmosphere, imagery beautiful and writing evocative and flowing. Perhaps a little too descriptive at times and unnecessary use of adverbs. However, this has a great pace to it and fits the genre perfectly. No problem putting it on my shelf.

  • msm0202's avatar
    msm0202 wrote 6 years ago

    This is extraordinary writing, and you have captured the period beautifully. You develop Pigalle's character very well in these early chapters. The arrival of the package in chapter two also begins to build what I can tell is going to be a strong sense of suspense and intrigue in this book.