352 pages, 9.51 × 6.38 × 1.22 in
February 25, 2014
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0385536038
ISBN - 13: 9780385536035
From the Publisher
A delicious account of a murder most gallic—think CSI Paris meets Georges Simenon—whose lurid combination of sex, brutality, forensics, and hypnotism riveted first a nation and then the world.
Little Demon in the City of Light is the thrilling—and so wonderfully French—story of a gruesome 1889 murder of a lascivious court official at the hands of a ruthless con man and his pliant mistress and the international manhunt, sensational trial, and an inquiry into the limits of hypnotic power that ensued.
In France at the end of the nineteenth century a great debate raged over the question of whether someone could be hypnotically compelled to commit a crime in violation of his or her moral convictions. When Toussaint-Augustin Gouffé entered 3, rue Tronson du Coudray, he expected nothing but a delightful assignation with the comely young Gabrielle Bompard. Instead, he was murdered—hanged!—by her and her companion Michel Eyraud. The body was then stuffed in a trunk and dumped on a riverbank near Lyon.
As the inquiry into the guilt or innocence of the woman the French tabloids dubbed the "Little Demon" escalated, the most respected minds in France debated whether Gabrielle Bompard was the pawn of her mesmerizing lover or simply a coldly calculating murderess. And, at the burning center of it all: Could hypnosis force people to commit crimes against their will?
About the Author
A veteran international journalist who has worked in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Paris, along with assignments in New York, Chicago, and Washington, STEVEN LEVINGSTON is the nonfiction book editor of The Washington Post. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife and two children.
Praise for Little Demon in the City of Light:"Levingston has unearthed a whopper of a story, and lovingly crafted a dense, lyrical yarn that hits the true-crime trifecta of setting, story and so-what. Such books remind us that times may change, but the human animal does not. "—The New York Times"Levingston, who is nonfiction book editor of the Washington Post and knows a good story when he sees one, has given it a richly enjoyable telling. Its lurid and improbable plot twists are expertly transposed into a breathless true-crime thriller set against a sumptuous evocation of the boulevards, nightclubs and boudoirs of Belle Époque Paris."—Wall Street Journal"...An engaging—and finally chilling—portrait of an uneasy era and a city of more shadow than light."—The Washington Post"...Fascinating... A rich portrait of the period, as well as the intriguing story of a notorious murder case, with its strange (and often amusing) cast of characters."—The Boston Globe"Equal parts period piece, forensic manual, and legal thriller, the book is a strong entry in the 'fascinating case in a fascinating time' genre."—The Daily Beast“A terrific story well told.”—The Seattle Times"...Readers are well-served by his reimagining of this amazing true story."—Minneapolis Star-Tribune"Levingston's smartly chipper prose and fine attention to detail...add an entertaining and authentic sensibility to this re-creation of a culture, a crime, and "the first time an accused murderer had put forward a hypnotism