Cover 9781785905469

By the summer of 1943, Henri Lafont had become the most powerful Frenchman in occupied Paris. After spending his early years as a petty criminal scavenging from bins and running from the French police, Lafont was recruited by the Nazis. From this point on his life changed for ever.

Lafont established a motley band of sadistic oddballs that became known as the French Gestapo and included ex-footballers, faded aristocrats, pimps, murderers, burglars and bank robbers. The gang wore the finest clothes, ate at the best restaurants and threw parties for the rich and famous of Nazi Paris out of their headquarters on the exclusive rue Lauriston.

In this fascinating portrait of occupied Paris, Christopher Othen explores how Lafont and his clan of criminal misfits rampaged across the French capital and left a trail of devastation in their wake. He vividly depicts how the gang robbed and murdered their way through the Second World War under the cover of fighting the resistance – until the Allies finally liberated France, and a terrible price had to be paid.


‘A gruesome exposé of the 1940s French gangsters who did the Gestapo’s dirty work … Othen tells the story of these repulsive men and their exploits with brio … he captures their sordid milieu perfectly.’ 

Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph

‘Enthralling … the incredible story of how Chamberlin went from eating out of dustbins to becoming the King of Nazi Paris, with money to burn and a whole host of beautiful ladies falling at his feet.'

Daily Express

"Othen captures the seediness and amorality of Lafont, his men and occupied Paris and makes you thank God that Britain never had to experience the Grand Guignol of Nazi occupation."

Paul Lay, The Times
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  • Paperback, 320 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785906596
  • 23 March 2021
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  • £9.99

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  • ISBN: 9781785905926
  • 14 July 2020
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