The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo

This book has great promise. It is billed as "The heirs of Sherlock Holmes gather to solve the world's most perplexing cases." And they do solve them with a combination of great deductive reasoning skills, some artistic talent and some good old fashioned luck.

The book chronicles the story of the Vidocq Society, a group of men and women from all over the world and from a variety of professions. There are artists, police officers, pathologists, coroners, attorneys, and judges. Eugene Francois Vidocq was a scandal in France - a career criminal who went onto start what is widely considered to be the world's first detective agency.

The VSMs (Vidocq Society members) were originally Frank Bender, an artist who had an uncanny ability for facial reconstruction and creation of death masks, William Fleisher a police detective and Richard Walter a forensic psychologist. These three men gather, in Philadelphia to start investigating "cold cases." The first case was a decades old case of the "boy in the box."

They are very successful. From 1984 until the time of the book printing (2010), they had investigated more than 300 unsolved murders, solving 90% of them. They did it by simply taking a fresh look at the information the various police agencies had pieced together during the original investigations. The book chronicles the exploits of the group from their beginnings to the current time. It is relentless in it's descriptions of murders, crime scenes and snippets of the main investigators lives.

What the book does is bring the reader into the minds and patterns of thinking of the investigators. There is a very complete description of the descent into psychopathology of a serial killer. This book is not for the faint of heart. It is very graphic in parts. It also contains several pictures taken directly from police files.

I thought the book was interesting, although I was really ready to be done with murder and mayhem by the end of the book. It should also be pointed out that the conversation portions of the book feel contrived. Who really knows what a killer said to his victim 50 years ago? I would recommend it with a strong caution. If you like true crime and graphic descriptions this book is for you.

Check our catalog

Comments List

Excerpts is the library newsletter and comes out every three months. It is mailed to every Glencoe resident. Copies of the newsletter are available online (below) and at the library. Please be sure to check the library calendar for program updates.

2020 Issues

March 2020

June 2020

September 2020

2019 Issues

December 2019

September 2019

June 2019

March 2019

2018 Issues

December 2018

September 2018

March 2018

June 2018

2017 Issues

December 2017

March 2017

June 2017

September 2017

2016 Issues

December 2016

September 2016

March 2016

June 2016

2015 Issues

December 2015
September 2015
June 2015

March 2015

2014 Issues
December 2014
September 2014
June 2014
March 2014

2013 Issues
December 2013
September 2013
June 2013
March 2013

2012 Issues
December 2012
September 2012
June 2012
March 2012

2011 Issues
December 2011
September 2011
June 2011
March 2011

2010 Issues
December 2010
September 2010
June 2010
March 2010

2009 Issues
December 2009
September 2009
June 2009
March 2009

2008 Issues
December 2008