We read The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo, which is a personal favorite of mine. It is all about the creation of the Vidocq Society, a collective of some of the world’s best detectives that discuss and often solve cold case files. We had a small group of attendees at this meeting, but most of us liked the book.
Some felt that Capuzzo tried too hard, or took too much creative license. I guess that’s always going to be an issue with non-fiction. The author must make it readable, but I know that I stopped once or twice to exclaim, “Come on! You can’t possibly know what the murder victim said just then.” A lot of us had issues with the style of the book, Capuzzo will start telling you about one case, but then drift into a new case.
In our discussion, however, we acknowledge that Capuzzo does this because he wants the reader to have a taste of what the detectives and families involved with such cases experience. Our frustration about having to wait fifty pages to get back to the case can’t even touch the frustration that these extraordinary individuals must feel of the course of years.
It was a sobering realization and the members who attended October’s came to appreciate the style in which Capuzzo tells the Vidocq story. We, of course, were very interested in hearing about cases that took place in and around our city and love the amount of Philadelphia genius that are lifetime VSMs (Vidocq Society Members).
I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in non-fiction, crime, or forensics. A friend of mine got to go to a Vidocq Society meeting once upon a time and didn’t quite understand why I geeked out so much. I was very jealous.