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The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science

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The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science Cover

ISBN13: 9780307279088
ISBN10: 0307279081
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A riveting true crime story that vividly recounts the birth of modern forensics.

At the end of the nineteenth century, serial murderer Joseph Vacher, known and feared as “The Killer of Little Shepherds,” terrorized the French countryside. He eluded authorities for years — until he ran up against prosecutor Emile Fourquet and Dr. Alexandre Lacassagne, the era's most renowned criminologist. The two men — intelligent and bold — typified the Belle Époque, a period of immense scientific achievement and fascination with sciences promise to reveal the secrets of the human condition.

With high drama and stunning detail, Douglas Starr revisits Vacher's infamous crime wave, interweaving the story of how Lacassagne and his colleagues were developing forensic science as we know it. We see one of the earliest uses of criminal profiling, as Fourquet painstakingly collects eyewitness accounts and constructs a map of Vacher's crimes. We follow the tense and exciting events leading to the murderers arrest. And we witness the twists and turns of the trial, celebrated in its day. In an attempt to disprove Vacher's defense by reason of insanity, Fourquet recruits Lacassagne, who in the previous decades had revolutionized criminal science by refining the use of blood-spatter evidence, systematizing the autopsy, and doing groundbreaking research in psychology. Lacassagne's efforts lead to a gripping courtroom denouement.

The Killer of Little Shepherds is an important contribution to the history of criminal justice, impressively researched and thrillingly told.

From the Hardcover edition.

Synopsis:

Winner of the Gold Dagger Award

A fascinating true crime story that details the rise of modern forensics and the development of modern criminal investigation.

 

At the end of the nineteenth century, serial murderer Joseph Vacher terrorized the French countryside, eluding authorities for years, and murdering twice as many victims as Jack The Ripper. Here, Douglas Starr revisits Vacher's infamous crime wave, interweaving the story of the two men who eventually stopped him—prosecutor Emile Fourquet and Dr. Alexandre Lacassagne, the era's most renowned criminologist. In dramatic detail, Starr shows how Lacassagne and his colleagues were developing forensic science as we know it. Building to a gripping courtroom denouement, The Killer of Little Shepherds is a riveting contribution to the history of criminal justice.

About the Author

Douglas Starr is codirector of the Center for Science and Medical Journalism and a professor of journalism at Boston University. His book Blood: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce won the 1998 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and became a PBS-TV documentary special. A veteran science, medical, and environmental reporter, Starr has contributed to many national publications, including Smithsonian, Audubon, National Wildlife, Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and Time, and has served as a science editor for PBS-TV. He lives near Boston.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

kauyyek, June 23, 2013 (view all comments by kauyyek)
I was absolutely fascinated by this book. I was attracted by the setting (late 19th century France), being a French teacher and a history buff, but the story of the development of forensic science as it pertained to the case of the serial killer, Joseph Vacher, kept me glued to the book. The photos in the middle of the book are spoilers, so if you don't want to know the outcome of the trial (is he sane and therefore able to be held accountable for his crimes, or is he insane and not accountable), don't look at the photos. If you like non-fiction, true crime stories, and/or forensics, this book is for you.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
kauyyek, June 23, 2013 (view all comments by kauyyek)
I was absolutely fascinated by this book. I was attracted by the setting (late 19th century France), being a French teacher and a history buff, but the story of the development of forensic science as it pertained to the case of the serial killer, Joseph Vacher, kept me glued to the book. The photos in the middle of the book are spoilers, so if you don't want to know the outcome of the trial (is he sane and therefore able to be held accountable for his crimes, or is he insane and not accountable), don't look at the photos. If you like non-fiction, true crime stories, and/or forensics, this book is for you.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307279088
Subtitle:
A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science
Author:
Starr, Douglas
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Subject:
General True Crime
Subject:
Crime - True Crime
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20111131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
7.96 x 5.13 x 0.69 in 0.7 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Crime » Forensics and Evidence
History and Social Science » Crime » General
History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » Law » General

The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Vintage Books - English 9780307279088 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Winner of the Gold Dagger Award

A fascinating true crime story that details the rise of modern forensics and the development of modern criminal investigation.

 

At the end of the nineteenth century, serial murderer Joseph Vacher terrorized the French countryside, eluding authorities for years, and murdering twice as many victims as Jack The Ripper. Here, Douglas Starr revisits Vacher's infamous crime wave, interweaving the story of the two men who eventually stopped him—prosecutor Emile Fourquet and Dr. Alexandre Lacassagne, the era's most renowned criminologist. In dramatic detail, Starr shows how Lacassagne and his colleagues were developing forensic science as we know it. Building to a gripping courtroom denouement, The Killer of Little Shepherds is a riveting contribution to the history of criminal justice.

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