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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For our series You Must Read This, author Rosecrans Baldwin recommends a comic book by a French artist. His name is Jacques Tardi. And the book is set in a richly imagined Paris.

ROSECRANS BALDWIN: It's 1911, Paris' golden age. World War I hasn't started, but the city is being attacked by a pterodactyl with supernatural powers. And the only person who can save the French capital is a young writer with the brains of Sherlock Holmes, the body of Angelina Jolie and the fortitude of the Marlboro Man. Her name is Adele BlancSec, and she won't take no for an answer.

This is the kind of comic that Raymond Chandler might have created - gangsters, politicians and your typical bumbling, power-hungry police officers.

For me the best part isn't the story, it's exploring Tardi's recreation of Paris at the turn of the 20th century. We see the Orientalism craze that went through the city before World War I. We trip down the stairs of a secret cult's hideout. This is Paris not only as it existed, but as it might have, at least in my fantasy. In the extraordinary adventures of Adele BlancSec, the real and the imagined vigorously combined.

CORNISH: That was Rosecrans Baldwin. His latest book is called "Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down."

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