From Colette to Rudyard Kipling, celebrities flocked for front-row seats at the 1921 trial of Henri Landru, the notorious ‘lonely hearts’ killer. By the time he was apprehended, France’s answer to Jack the Ripper had swindled his way to contact with almost 300 women, using a variety of aliases, and murdered ten of them at his country pied-à-terre outside Paris.
A century later, the suicide of Rey Rivera at the Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore created no such sensation except in the minds of conspiracy theorists and those who missed him, but the two stories reveal more similarities than might be expected.
Trawling through 7,000 pages of archive material, Richard Tomlinson’s account spans many years, witness statements, forensic records and court documents. Charting the accused’s upbringing and dabbles in petty crime to the investigation and trial, it’s a comprehensive and well-structured book, filled with reported dialogue. The human drama plays out alongside portraits