Saturday, February 22, 2014

Little Demon in the City of Light

Could a man or woman under the influence of hypnosis be commanded to commit a murder? If that was possible...would the hypnotized person be guilty of the crime, or an innocent tool no different from a gun or knife? That's the question at the center of Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Epoque Paris. Gabrielle Bompard claims that, although she lured Toussaint-Augustin GouffĂ© to her rooms and placed the noose around his neck, she was not in control of her actions. According to Gabrielle, her abusive lover Michel Eyraud, who kept her in a state of almost constant hypnosis, was responsible for the man's death. 

It always amazes me how much interesting information I absorb while reading nonfiction about historical events. The French press...the early study of neurology...the early days of forensic investigation... Prior to reading this book, I didn't know much at all about the belle epoque. It was a surprise to learn that they were still using the guillotine in the late 1800s (and even more of a shock when I looked it up on Wikipedia and learned that the last  guillotining was in 1977!)

If you enjoy historical true crime, I definitely recommend this one.

Disclosure -- the publisher provided me with an electronic ARC

1 comment:

Karen in Breezy Point said...

I just read a review in this morning's paper--I need to read this book!!


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