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The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock…

The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the… (edition 2011)

by Michael Capuzzo

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4183325,386 (3.45)12
Title:The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases
Authors:Michael Capuzzo
Info:Gotham (2011), Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Read, Your library

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The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases by Michael Capuzzo



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One in three murders are unsolved in the US and The Vidocq Society, named for the father of criminalistics, was formed. The Society is made up of top lawmen and criminal investigators in the world who meet once a month to have lunch and hear about an unsolved murder case. During the period covered (through 2011) they had consulted on 300 cold cases and came up with the tips and advice and that resulted in 90% solved. This book tells the story of the group's founding and really gathers steam as it switches back-and-forth through the cases that were solved. The focus is on three founding members...an ex-FBI agent turned private investigator who held the group together, an artist who constructed busts of victims and long-missing criminals, and a, English-born, brutally-direct prison psychiatrist who resembles Basil Rathbone and considers himself one of 5 or 6 worthwhile criminal profilers. Great book. ( )
  NickHowes | Sep 24, 2015 |
Frank Bender, a forensic sculptor, Richard Walter, criminal profiler and U.S. Customs Agent William Fleischer are as different as three individuals can be, yet they share one thing in common; an unwavering desire to find the truth about crimes. Together they formed the Vidocq society. Named after the French “father of criminology” they invite law enforcement specialists from all over the world to their monthly luncheon meetings in Philadelphia, where along with the meal the society is served cold cases. They have rules and standards and never get involved with ongoing investigations. They must be invited by the local authorities where the case took place and do not involve themselves in cases such as gang related activities.

The Vidocq society has been featured on television shows such as America’s Most Wanted and ABC’s Dateline and 48 Hours. If you are a fan of either of those shows or find yourself watching CSI or Criminal Minds this is a book you want to pick up. Well written and well documented the only complaint I have is that the book is a little disjointed. The reader is introduced immediately to the case of the “Boy in the Box” yet must wait until the final pages of the book to discover the murderer. The thread is carried throughout the book, interspersed with biographies of the criminologists and other cases. Despite that one flaw (in my humble opinion) this book is truly fascinating. A must read for true crime enthusiasts.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
Two sexist comments in the first ten pages and a snide tone that I do not like at all - I'm not going to bother reading this one. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Jun 30, 2015 |
Hard to review - parts were outstanding, intriguing, and fun to read, while other sections were plain gibberish, winding around some event only to leave it off hanging without follow-up, or with follow-up chapters so much later that the subject was well in the past by the time it was explained. Certainly, I hope the Vidocq society paid off the author a goodly sum, as he certainly never missed a chance to promote bloated and fawning reviews of the society's members. They apparently are the greatest people in the world, without equals... or so the book would have it. It *was* a good book, reviewing the development of the society and some of the cases they've solved, but man, the author could have cut the "bs" factor by 10 and still told a great story. The members became almost like toys, with descriptions and musings of their everyday thoughts and how stunning wonderful they thought themselves to be. Gaaaaa... choke me... phwew, utter bs. But still, if you can make it through that, some of the stories are great : the boy-in-the-box, the List murders, some great cases with lots of twisted history. And those stories made this book worth reading Also, the narrator was great. ( )
  marshapetry | Oct 22, 2014 |
The subtitle of The Murder Room, The Heirs of Sherlock Homes Gather to Solve the world's Most Perplexing Cold Cases is an excellent description of the premise of this look into the sleuths of The Vidocq Society. The society was the dream of three men, William Fleisher, Richard Walter, and Frank Bender, possibly the best of the world's crime solvers. Named for Eugène François Vidocq, the ground-breaking nineteenth century French detective who helped police by using the psychology of the criminal to solve "cold case" homicides, NPR calls this a dedicated group who solve mysteries over soup. Part one of The Murder Room invites you to a luncheon like no other. After a 5 course meal including such gourmet food as pork and mallard duck sausage hosted in an elegant hall with glittering eighteenth century chandeliers, coffee is served to backdrop images of the battered remains of a blond young man cast aside in a restaurant alley. I'm hooked.

Capuzzo's style here, give the reader a teaser in each chapter, leave them hanging for the outcome, and then providing closure somewhere down the road, if known, can be a bit frustrating at times. But liken this to the "not knowing" that the families of cold case victims live each and every day, sometimes forever, and I decided Capuzzo's method was fitting, if not a dead on perfect way to format this book.

The Murder Room outlines many gut wrenching cases with many being solved but not all. What hits home loud and clear is the dedication and drive of the men and women who make up The Vidocq Society; professionals who will not rest until the case is closed, justice is done and the families know the victims have not been forgotten. Fascinating reading it is! ( )
  Hanneri | Oct 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
This is compelling reading, but Capuzzo’s narrative style often has the reader guessing at details, methods, and outcomes.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist, Connie Fletcher (Jul 1, 2010)
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.
added by Katya0133 | editPublishers Weekly (May 24, 2010)
Terrifying, engrossing, inspirational and surprisingly funny.
added by Katya0133 | editKirkus Reviews (May 15, 2010)
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Book description
Unsolved murders were rampant, and somebody had to something. Three of the world's finest sleuths--an FBI agent turned private eye, a forensic artist and the ladies' man who speaks to the dead, and an eccentric profiler known as "the living Sherlock Holmes"--invited the greatest collection of ace detectives from around the world on a grand adventure for justice: to track down the killers in the toughest unsolved murders, working pro bono to solve cold cases over a hot gourmet lunch.

The Murder Room draws the reader into the secret investigations of the crime-fighting Vidocq Society, named for the flamboyant nineteenth-century Paris detective Eugéne François Vidocq, whose real-life adventures inspired the creation of the detective novel. It is a darkly fascinating world as the three partners travel far from their Victorian dining room to hunt the ruthless killers of a millionaire's son, a mass murderer who wiped out his whole family, a child-killer enjoying fifty years of freedom, and a cast of serial killers and other human monsters who had long outsmarted the police in some of the most chilling cases in the world.

Accompanied by an insert of more than twenty photos, The Murder Room is a descent into the lowest regions of hell and a climb into the highest redemption; a true tale of evil as old as the Bible and dark as the pages of Dostoevsky; and a private club of passionate men and women who decided to make a stand for truth, goodness, and justice using old-fashioned shoe leather and dazzling bright forensic science as their sword. [from the jacket]
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Documents the efforts of the Vidocq Society, an elite trio of gifted investigators, to solve such notorious cold cases as those of JonBenet Ramsey, the Butcher of Cleveland, and Jack the Ripper, and details their work with the world's top forensic specialists.… (more)

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