Monday, July 13, 2015
The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo
For starters, is this fiction or non-fiction? The narrative style makes me think it's fiction, but the way the book is structured was... strange. It was either some extremely unconventional form of the novel, or not a novel. Surprise, surprise, it's a non-fiction book. Just written in a very fictionalised way - I wouldn't take what it says at its word, and I enjoyed reading it.
The Murder Room is basically about the Vidocq Society, which is a club for the best detectives, and its three founding members, William Fleisher, Frank Bender and Richard Walter. It covers the professional history of the three members (including why they got into the jobs they did), the founding of the society, and its cases.
Since most of the cases the Vidocq Society takes on are cold cases, I found all of them interesting. Not to mention that the society only takes on cases that are not only unsolvable (for at least two years), but the victim must be an innocent. That means I wanted every single victim to find justice. Several times, I set the book aside to search for information on whatever case I was reading, in hopes that there was a satisfying ending.
If there's one thing I'd complain about the book, it's really the "too much like fiction" aspect. These people do not sound human. The book might just not be covering their failures, but it seems like whatever conclusion they draw is the right one. Bender and Walter even remind me a little of Heiji and Shinichi (the two teen detectives from the anime Detective Conan) - perfect as a pair, but bickering. Ok, that was only Heiji and Shinichi at first. But yeah, everyone seems too much like a character in a novel to me.
Apart from that, I really enjoyed the book. I like mysteries, and the thought that some of the smartest people are working on the unsolvable cases is amazing. If they are as good as the book says they are, then there's no doubt that they're making big differences in society, and in particular, in the lives of the families of victims.