Charles Belfoure

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Charles Belfoure
Born (1954-02-19) February 19, 1954 (age 65)[1]
Occupationwriter, architect, historian
Alma materPratt Institute,
Columbia University
Genrehistory, historical fiction

Charles Belfoure (born 19 February 1954) is an American writer, architect and historian.


He was born in 1954 as the son of Charles W. Belfoure and Polish immigrant Kristine Vetulani,[2] and grew up in Woodlawn, the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland. He attended the Woodlawn High School.[3] In 1983 he graduated from the Pratt Institute with a Bachelor of Architecture and in 1993 from the Columbia University with a Master of Science in Real Estate Development.[1]

He is a specialist in historic preservation.[4] He taught at Pratt Institute and at the Goucher College in Baltimore, and has been a freelance contributor to The New York Times and The Baltimore Sun. He published several architectural histories and was a recipient of a Graham Foundation national grant for architectural research.[5]

At one point of his career, he also began to write novels. The Paris Architect, Belfoure's first novel, was published by Sourcebooks Landmark on October 8, 2013 in the U.S. Following the story of a French architect Lucien Bernard, being paid to create temporary hiding places for Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris,[6] the book received generally positive reviews. Malcolm Gladwell of The Guardian chose The Paris Architect his favourite book of 2013, calling it „a beautiful and elegant account of an ordinary man's unexpected and reluctant descent into heroism during the second world war”.[7] Belfoure's debut in fiction was found among finalists of the 2015 International Dublin Literary Award[8] and hit The New York Times best seller list in an e-book category in July 2015.[9] StudioCanal and The Picture Company acquired the rights to film The Paris Architect. Chris Salmanpour was signed up to adapt the script.[10]

Belfoure's second novel, House of Thieves, was published on September 15, 2015. Set in 1886 in New York, it tells the story of an architect forced to join a criminal gang, and therefore plan robberies of the buildings he had previously designed to pay off his son’s debts.[11] Publishers Weekly praised the work, pointing out that „Belfoure holds together each and every thread of the novel, resulting in a most memorable, evocative read”.[12] Jocelyn McClurg of USA Today gave the book three out of four stars, saying that „channeling Dickens, Belfoure designs a rollicking story but overloads on improbabilities. No matter – it’s a blueprint for great fun”.[13] House of Thieves was said to be adapted for television by the Mark Gordon Company, with Francis Lawrence to direct the series.[14]

Belfoure's third novel, The Fallen Architect, was released on October 9, 2018.[15] Set in 1905, it tells the story of a British architect in the Edwardian era.[16] Publishers Weekly reviewer called it an „exceptional mystery” and said that „Belfoure offers the reader glimpses of early motion pictures, variety hall jokes that are still funny, and a description of Edward VII consuming a 10-course meal. This wonderfully realized background coupled with insights into British society make this a standout”,[17] yet Kirkus Reviews contributor pointed out that several „structural failures loom” in the course of the plot, and one of the plot twists „is a cul de sac from which Belfoure, himself an architect, cannot design a convincing exit. The music hall décor and atmosphere help distract from the flawed whodunit”.[18] The Fallen Architect was announced a 2019 Nero Award Finalist.[19]

In 2018, Belfoure announced that he has been working on his fourth novel about an architect in Imperial Russia under Tsar Nicholas II.

Belfoure uses his architectural background to develop the plot of his novels. He said that he never took creative writing lessons and that he „hesitated writing fiction”, but discovered that John Grisham, who was also never trained in writing, has been using his legal background for his fiction works. Belfoure decided to use his knowledge in the field of architecture in a similar way.[20] When aksed about the works that influenced him most, he pointed to Robert Moses' The Power Broker, William Golding's Lord of the Flies and novels by Thomas Hardy, especially Jude the Obscure and The Mayor of Casterbridge.[20][21][22]

Belfoure lives in Westminster, Maryland. His son Christopher Belfoure graduated in history from West Virginia University in 2010, and died due to a fatal ATV accident the following year. A memorial scholarship – The Christopher Belfoure Chinese Studies Travel Abroad Fund – was established to honor his memory.[23][24][25] Belfoure also has a daughter, Julie.




  • The Baltimore Rowhouse (with Mary Ellen Hayward, 1997)
  • Monuments to Money: The Architecture of American Banks (2005)
  • Edmund G. Lind: Anglo-American Architect of Baltimore and the South (2009)



  1. ^ a b "The Paris Architect - 101 Amazing Facts You Didn't Know". Gee Whiz Books. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  2. ^ "Eve K. Belfoure, 79, survivor of Nazi labor camp, teacher". The Baltimore Sun. 29 March 2004. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Between the Covers with Charles Belfoure". Baltimore County Public Library. 23 September 2015. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  4. ^ Nate Brown (27 July 2015). "Two Lives". Publishers Weekly. pp. 34–35.
  5. ^ "Charles Belfoure". Goodreads. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  6. ^ Jocelyn McClurg (30 October 2013). "New voices: Charles Belfoure and 'The Paris Architect'". USA Today. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Writers and critics on the best books of 2013". The Guardian. 23 November 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Longlist of the 2015 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award". IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award. Archived from the original on 28 July 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  9. ^ "E-book Fiction Best Sellers". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  10. ^ Borys Kit (20 July 2016). "Studiocanal, The Picture Company Adapting World War Two Thriller 'The Paris Architect' (Exclusive)". Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  11. ^ Jocelyn McClurg (13 September 2015). "Books: New and Noteworthy". USA Today. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  12. ^ "House of Thieves Review". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  13. ^ Jocelyn McClurg (22 November 2015). "Fiction roundup: New 'Shopaholic,' Jojo Moyes". USA Today. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  14. ^ Nellie Andreeva (18 September 2015). "Francis Lawrence To Produce & Direct 'Neverwhere' & 'House Of Thieves' Series Projects Financed By Mark Gordon Co". Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  15. ^ "The Fallen Architect". Amazon. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Charles Belfoure Interview – Authors Revealed". YouTube. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  17. ^ "The Fallen Architect ". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  18. ^ "The Fallen Architect Review". Kirkus Reviews. 17 July 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  19. ^ "The Fallen Architect is a 2019 Nero Award Finalist". Sourcebooks. 13 June 2019. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Author Spotlight: Charles Belfoure". New York City Writers Network. 4 February 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Riffle Backstory: Q&A with Charles Belfoure, Author of The Paris Architect". Riffle. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  22. ^ "Charles Belfoure Author Page". Foyles. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  23. ^ "Christopher Belfoure". West Virginia University. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  24. ^ "Memorial scholarship created in honor of alumnus Christopher Belfoure". West Virginia University. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  25. ^ "Christopher R. Belfoure – Obituary". The Hartford Courant. 8 July 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  26. ^ Hopkins, Johns (21 June 2019). "Thank you for celebrating with us at our 2019 Preservation Awards!". Retrieved 15 July 2019.

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