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
Little Demon in the
City of Light is the thrilling 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 number three on Tronson du Coudray street, 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 whom 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 was a question. Could hypnosis force people to commit crimes against their will? Download and start listening now!