This is the true story of atrocious murders committed during World War II. Investigating a chimney fire, authorities discovered the dismembered bodies of many murder victims. The resident of the apartment was Marcel Petiot, a seemingly kind and charitable Paris physician. Petiot offered to smuggle people out of occupied France for a fee but instead murdered them, keeping their money and possessions. After eluding the police, Petiot was arrested and put on trial after the end of World War II. Petiot claimed to be a patriot, killing 63 people who were "enemies of France," while working as a member of the French Resistance. The trial was somewhat of a circus, with Petiot being tried for 27 counts of murder at once. At his trial, Petiot was charming and witty, and had the audience, who were numb to horrific crimes after living through Nazi-occupied Paris, squarely on his side. Readers will be compelled to find out if the investigation by the seemingly inept police department results in Petiot being found innocent or guilty.
This book could appeal to readers who enjoyed In the Garden of Beasts or The Devil in the White City, both by Erik Larson, or The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston. The epilogue, extensive endnotes and a bibliography makes the reader appreciate the amount of research done by the author.
Reviewed by nw, 03/12. Other reviews by nw.