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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Media > Books > Non-Fiction

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  #1  
Old 03-20-2017, 06:25 PM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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Default The Little Demon in the City of Light by Steven Levingston

This book is three years old, and I bought it at a Barnes & Noble (since closed) in Queens. It was published the year I bought it (New York, London: Doubleday, 2014). Finally I read it this weekend, and found it of some considerable interest.

The story is about a crime that was contemporary to that of the Whitechapel murders, but only a single murder victim was involved, and it was a man. The man, a French bailiff named Gouffe, was lured to a romantic rendevouz with one Gabrielle Bompard in her rented apartment. Gouffe's job was as a debt collector, and he had built up a sizeable small fortune. While being romanced by Gabrielle, the latter took off an attractive looking corset, teasingly wrapping it around Gouffe's throat, and either she or her lover/accomplice Michel Eyraud (who was hiding behind a curtain) hooked it to a pulley and pulled on the rope. Gouffe was choked to death by either the hanging device or Eyraud strangling him manually. The body was deposited in a trunk that was taken by train to Lyons, and dumped (separately from the trunk, which was broken up). along a ravine. Three weeks later the remains were found as were the broken trunk. The investigation took nearly a year before both suspects were in the hands of the Surete, and the trial was a national sensation, due to it's international scope (Gabrielle and Michel fled to North American, got to San Francisco, and then returned east - Gabrielle fleeing her ex-lover with a new one, returning to France, and surrendering - she enjoyed the publicity - while Michel hid in New York City, Philadelphia, Montreal, and Havana, where he was captured). The central issue of the trial was whether or not Eyraud hypnotized Bompard into helping to murder Gouffe, or (as he claimed) was the main mover of the plot. Hypnotism as a potential defense in criminal cases was at stake in the trial, and the outcome basically ended this as a potential defense.

It's a well told true crime story, but I noticed two interesting side notes.

1) The Surete head, Goron, had to go to London tracing the purchase of the destroyed trunk. He got a series of meetings with Sir Robert Anderson, who took him on a tour of the East End to show the sites of the Ripper killings (the author says that by the summer of 1889 there were nine killings).

2) Two French detectives were sent to try to find Eyraud in New York City, and were unsuccessful But they had a meeting with Inspector Thomas Byrnes of the New York City Police Department, who gave them a file of his own men's observations of Eyraud.

I strongly recommend the book anyway. But I found those references quite interesting.

Jeff
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  #2  
Old 03-20-2017, 07:17 PM
GUT GUT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayerling View Post
This book is three years old, and I bought it at a Barnes & Noble (since closed) in Queens. It was published the year I bought it (New York, London: Doubleday, 2014). Finally I read it this weekend, and found it of some considerable interest.

The story is about a crime that was contemporary to that of the Whitechapel murders, but only a single murder victim was involved, and it was a man. The man, a French bailiff named Gouffe, was lured to a romantic rendevouz with one Gabrielle Bompard in her rented apartment. Gouffe's job was as a debt collector, and he had built up a sizeable small fortune. While being romanced by Gabrielle, the latter took off an attractive looking corset, teasingly wrapping it around Gouffe's throat, and either she or her lover/accomplice Michel Eyraud (who was hiding behind a curtain) hooked it to a pulley and pulled on the rope. Gouffe was choked to death by either the hanging device or Eyraud strangling him manually. The body was deposited in a trunk that was taken by train to Lyons, and dumped (separately from the trunk, which was broken up). along a ravine. Three weeks later the remains were found as were the broken trunk. The investigation took nearly a year before both suspects were in the hands of the Surete, and the trial was a national sensation, due to it's international scope (Gabrielle and Michel fled to North American, got to San Francisco, and then returned east - Gabrielle fleeing her ex-lover with a new one, returning to France, and surrendering - she enjoyed the publicity - while Michel hid in New York City, Philadelphia, Montreal, and Havana, where he was captured). The central issue of the trial was whether or not Eyraud hypnotized Bompard into helping to murder Gouffe, or (as he claimed) was the main mover of the plot. Hypnotism as a potential defense in criminal cases was at stake in the trial, and the outcome basically ended this as a potential defense.

It's a well told true crime story, but I noticed two interesting side notes.

1) The Surete head, Goron, had to go to London tracing the purchase of the destroyed trunk. He got a series of meetings with Sir Robert Anderson, who took him on a tour of the East End to show the sites of the Ripper killings (the author says that by the summer of 1889 there were nine killings).

2) Two French detectives were sent to try to find Eyraud in New York City, and were unsuccessful But they had a meeting with Inspector Thomas Byrnes of the New York City Police Department, who gave them a file of his own men's observations of Eyraud.

I strongly recommend the book anyway. But I found those references quite interesting.

Jeff

Thanks Jeff I'll have to keep an eye out for it.
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There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.
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  #3  
Old 03-21-2017, 05:08 AM
Steadmund Brand Steadmund Brand is offline
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Thank you... looks great, just ordered it

Steadmund Brand
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"The truth is what is, and what should be is a fantasy. A terrible, terrible lie that someone gave to the people long ago."- Lenny Bruce
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  #4  
Old 03-21-2017, 10:23 AM
Ozzy Ozzy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayerling View Post
While being romanced by Gabrielle, the latter took off an attractive looking corset, teasingly wrapping it around Gouffe's throat, and either she or her lover/accomplice Michel Eyraud (who was hiding behind a curtain) hooked it to a pulley and pulled on the rope.
10 out of 10 for method.
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These are not clues, Fred.
It is not yarn leading us to the dark heart of this place.
They are half-glimpsed imaginings, tangle of shadows.
And you and I floundering at them in the ever vainer hope that we might corral then into meaning when we will not.
We will not.
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