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The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Ca ses Hardcover – August 10, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Despite journalist Capuzzo's obvious reverence for the crime fighters he profiles, his account of the formation of the legendary Vidocq Society is as scattered as many of the cold case files they wade through. Based in Philadelphia, the Vidocq Society was the brainchild of three wildly different men brought together by their desire to speak for the dead: freewheeling exboxer turned forensic sculptor Frank Bender; FBI and U.S. Customs agent William Fleisher; and pre-eminent forensic psychologist and profiler Richard Walter. What began as an informal meeting of colleagues in 1990 evolved into an expansive international think tank of sorts modeled and named after France's famed criminal-turned-sleuth EugeÌÇne Vidocq, a model for Sherlock Holmes. The cases--ranging from Philadelphia's long-festering "Boy in the Box" murder to the "Butcher of Cleveland," a serial killer who taunted Elliot Ness in the 1930s--are fascinating, but Capuzzo (Close to Shore) loses much of his narrative momentum by abruptly shifting between the founding members' individual backstories and homicides the society investigates. Yet there is no denying that the 82 "VSMs"(Vidocq Society Member) do an immeasurable service in the name of justice.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Here is the Pickwick Club for people who study psychopaths: once a month, several forensic experts gather in a posh Victorian brownstone in downtown Philadelphia, have a sumptuous lunch, and then consider cold cases brought to them by baffled detectives. The club is called the Vidocq Society, named after the nineteenth-century French criminologist who was one of the inspirations for Sherlock Holmes. Journalist Capuzzo (formerly of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Miami Herald) has gained access both to this club (his description of one meeting ending with the projected image of a murder victim is brilliant) and to its founders, including a forensic psychiatrist, a forensic artist, and a former FBI special agent. Members also include Robert Ressler, the father of criminal profiling; forensic pathologists; and some Philadelphia cops. Capuzzo provides background on the founders and gives sketches of some famous cold cases the group has solved. This is compelling reading, but Capuzzo’s narrative style often has the reader guessing at details, methods, and outcomes. --Connie Fletcher
Top customer reviews
Interesting subject and some details I had not read elsewhere. For whatever reason, Frank Bender's sexual proclivities are often emphasized in discussions of his work. I imagine, to give a picture of the whole man, ie, make him 3 dimensional? At any rate, I am glad Mr Bender's vice ran to sexual escapades, and not drugs or alcohol, as we might never have seen his work.
Well worth picking up a used copy, which is not really true of The Skeleton Crew.
The book was more than I had bargained for with stories that chilled my bones and gave me a nightmare or two. All because it made it all too clear that monsters really do exist and they don't hide in closets or under your bed with horns coming out of their heads and razor sharp teeth but rather they are right next door disguised as that sweet smiling neighbor or maybe your religious leader with that all too uncomfortable touch on the shoulder.
The book pulled me in from the start and kept my attention enough to keep wanting to read it whenever time permitted but there were times I wish I had never read about this murder or that... Some stories left an indelible impression that leaves me feeling sick when I think about them. One story in particular I wish they had left out but I understand it was needed to lay the groundwork for the next case.
This book for me is what I call "A One Off" because reading it once was for me enough and I feel no need to revisit the characters and the stories. I liked the book enough that I liked it and enjoyed it for what it was but I didn't loved it only of the subject matter being so dark and disturbing. I can't see myself ever wanting to relive the stories of the victims and their demise seeing that these stories derive from real crime stories and this is why I call this book "A One Off" or "One and Done". But for those who enjoy the dark, disturbing, and true crimes sort of reading then this is the book for you.
Most recent customer reviews
The creation of this examination of the people in the Vidocq and how they solve and assist in finding the criminals is a...Read more
'Murder Room' is, first, generally well-written from a literary standpoint, with a clear voice and functional formatting.Read more