Synopses & Reviews
Named in honor of Eugene Vidocq, the first modern detective and inspiration for Sherlock Holmes, the Vidocq Society is comprised of 150 world-renowned criminologists who convene in "the murder room" on the third Thursday of every month in the Downtown Club in Philadelphia across from Independence Hall to discuss a cold case murder over a gourmet lunch. Over the course of the meeting, the Vidocq members examine the known facts of the case to come up with new angles of investigation--suspects, technological methods, or areas of inquiry. And sometimes they are able to crack the case before the afternoon is over. They have allowed journalist Michael Capuzzo exclusive access to witness their legendary investigations and tell their amazing story.
Capuzzo follows the Vidocq Society through the course of four of their most famous cases, highlighting the skills and insights of the members. "The Case of the Prodigal Son" is the story of how an investigator's psychological acumen solved the murder of a milionaire's son who had run away to Texas, where he was brutally murdered by a manipulative girlfriend. "The Missing Face" tells how a forensic bust of a decade-old corpse of a woman that had been abandoned by the roadside with its face hacked off lead to an identification by the victim's mother and the capture of a vicious serial killer. "The Fast Food Killer" is the story of a grisly slaugther that occurred at a Roy Rogers restaurant after closing time, and how the Vidocq Society opened the cold case and solved it. "The Boy in the Box" tells the story of a 50-year-old murder that made national headlines and has haunted Philadelphia ever since, until the Vidocq Society was able to find the clues to crack it.
Capuzo weaves his narrative around the three founding members of the society. Bill Fleisher, the President of the Society, is a stocky, grey-bearded gourmand, a former FBI and Customs agent turned private eye who first recognized the need to pool the talent of criminologists who work together outside mainstream law enforcement. Frank Bender, the world's foremost forensic sculptor, is a goateed bohemian who possesses a supernatural ability to reconstruct the images of murder victims as they appeared in life--often from a minimal amount of evidence--to help identify their remains and bring the guilty to justice. Richard Walter, the slender, chain-smoking loner with a blasphemous tongue is a world renowned expert profiler who has logged over 22,000 interviews with convicted criminals, gaining an uncanny insight into the pathology of murder that has earned him the reputation in law-enforcement circles as "the real-life Sherlock Holmes."
The Murder Room concludes with an examination of Richard Walter's "Theory of Evil"--a look at his new psychological theory of murder that divides killers into four quadrants of psychopathology--and for the very worst "sadomasochistic" killers, shows how they proceed along the "helix of evil," as their perversion progresses from animal torture, to dismemberment, and ultimately to cannibalism. Thrilling and unforgettable, The Murder Room is an intimate look at a team of real-life crimefighters who band together to fight the most devious and evil elements in our society--and catch the killers that nobody else can.
Journalist Capuzzo brings listeners into the murder room, where the world's foremost forensic investigators solve cold cases and bring murderers to justice--over lunch. Abridged. 5 CDs.
Thrilling, true tales from the Vidocq Society, a team of the world’s finest forensic investigators whose monthly gourmet lunches lead to justice in ice-cold murders.
Good friends and sometime rivals William Fleisher, Frank Bender, and Richard Walter—a renowned FBI agent turned private eye, a sculptor lothario who speaks to the dead, and an eccentric profiler known as “the living Sherlock Holmes”—were heartsick over the growing tide of unsolved murders of innocents. They decided one day over lunch that something had to be done, and pledged themselves to a grand quest for justice. The three men invited the greatest collection of forensic investigators ever assembled, drawn from five continents, to the Downtown Club in Philadelphia to begin an audacious quest: to bring the coldest killers in the world to an accounting. Named for the first modern detective, the Parisian Eugène François Vidocq—the flamboyant Napoleonic real-life sleuth who inspired Sherlock Holmes—the Vidocq Society meets monthly in its secretive chambers to solve a cold murder over a gourmet lunch.
The Murder Room draws the listener into a chilling, darkly humorous, awe-inspiring world as the three partners travel far from their Victorian dining room to hunt the ruthless killers of a millionaire’s son, a serial killer who carves off faces, and a child killer enjoying fifty years of freedom and dark fantasy.
Michael Capuzzo’s brilliant storytelling gifts bring true crime to life more realistically and vividly than it has ever been portrayed before. It is a world of dazzlingly bright forensic science; true evil as old as the Bible and dark as the pages of Dostoevsky; and a group of flawed, passionate men and women, inspired by their own wounded hearts to make a stand for truth, goodness, and justice in a world gone mad.
About the Author
Adam Grupper's Broadway performances include Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme, 45 Seconds From Broadway, The Wild Party, Guys and Dolls, The Secret Garden, City of Angels, and Into the Woods. He has appeared in films such as Two Weeks Notice and It Runs in the Family, and on television in The Sopranos, Hack, Third Watch, Now and Again, LawandOrder Criminal Intent, and Law and Order SVU.