An Unexpected Criminal

An Unexpected Criminal

The Unspeakable Crimes of Dr. Petiot, by Thomas Maeder

Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909) believed there was an association between physical characteristics and the innate tendency of individuals toward sociopathy and criminal behaviour. Lombroso.JPG

Lombroso’s main idea was inspired -partly- by evolutionary and genetical studies, and proposed that certain criminals had physical evidence of an “atavistic” or hereditary sort, reminiscent of primitive stages of human evolution. These anomalies -called stigmata– could be expressed in terms of abnormal forms or dimensions of the skull and jaw, assymmetries in the face and in other parts of the body.

These associations were later shown to be highly inconsistent, and that’s when new theories based on the environmental causation of criminality became dominant.

Today studies show that serial killers and psychopaths can look extraordinarily ordinary on the outside. Jack Levin –director of the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict at Northeastern University in Boston– says that’s pure mythology that serial killers are loners or antisocial, and that most of those psychopaths may appear successful and perfectly normal, beyond any suspicion.

Dr. Marcel Petiot was one of those psychopaths who wore the mask of sanity in order to  prey on more than 150 men, women and children desperate to escape Nazi-occupied Paris.

On March 11, 1944, police were called to investigate foul-smelling smoke pouring from the chimney of an elegant private house near the Arc de Triomphe. In the basement of 21 rue Le Sueur, they made the first of many gruesome discoveries: a human handcover90248-medium.png dangling from the open door of a coal-burning stove.

Proceeding to the rear of the home, detectives found rib cages, skulls, and internal organs strewn across the floor and large piles of quicklime mixed with fragments of bone and flesh. Were Hitler’s henchmen responsible for the carnage? Or was it the work of French Resistance fighters purging Paris of traitors and German spies?

As the investigation unfolded, a more sinister possibility emerged. The building’s owner, Dr. Marcel Petiot, was a handsome and charismatic physician whose past was littered with bizarre behavior and criminal activity. When he was finally captured eight months later, Dr. Petiot claimed he was a loyal member of the Resistance who helped kill Nazi collaborators. Prosecutors charged that he was a sadistic mass murderer who lured at least twenty-seven innocent people to their deaths with promises of escape. Estimates of the actual number of his victims ran as high as 150.

Thomas Maeder reconstructs one of the twentieth century’s most cruel and disturbing murder case from the first stages of investigation to the sensational trial. The Unspeakable crimes of Dr.Petiot is a compelling reading about one of the most brilliant yet sadistic mind ever known.

 


Get your own copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (eBook)

Advertisements
Why Kerouac means Freedom

Why Kerouac means Freedom

 

The Town and The City is Jack Kerouac’s debut novel, published seven years before his iconic On the Road, about the adventures of the Martin family as they navigate the seismic cultural shifts following World War II.cover83423-medium.png

Inspired by Kerouac’s own New England youth, the eight Martin children enjoy an idyllic upbringing in a small Massachusetts mill-town, but when was breaks out, everything is interrupted and falls apart.

After returning home, Peter, the  is drawn to the kinetic energy of New York City and the progressive, bohemian ideas springing from its denizen young poets, writers, and artists. His new friends are fictionalized versions of Kerouac’s contemporaries: Allen Ginsberg (as Leon Levinsky), Lucien Carr (as Kenneth Wood), and William Burroughs (as Will Dennison), and other members of the Beat Generation.

You can’t go wrong with Kerouac, father and authentic voice of the beat generation.
The American myth of the road, the freedom and eccentricity of the young beats, the magic of the the Oriental Philosophy, this book represent Kerouac at the very best.
Absolutely recommended!

 

 

 

TGIF and an Epic Reading

TGIF and an Epic Reading

Fry-yay, People!!

The week end is coming and finally I can sit down with an epic book that has been highly recommended to me by a lot of readers at the Serial Readers Book Club at Goodreads (btw, join us if you haven’t yet!).

I know I’m coming late, but in my defence I can tell you I’m still recovering from the massive Game of Thrones Marathon and I am not completely sure I’m ready for a saga that now stands at some 14.5 million words – by the author’s estimate-  for a total of eight books (maybe 9).

But, as I hate to be left out of a movement… Outlander, it is!Unknown.jpeg

With a global super dedicated fan base the Outlander Series is enormously popular, selling over 25 million copies worldwide!

The story follows Claire Randall, a married former nurse living in 1945 who travels back in time to eighteenth-century Scotland. While there, she meets and falls in love with Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. Catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies, Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Even if the historical fiction genre is new to me, I can tell you I might enjoy it.

If you already have read Outlander, tell me what you think! Leave a comment or feel free to join the group discussion on Goodreads.


Get your copy now! On Amazon.com (Book) – (Ebook)