Monday, July 14, 2014

True Crime Roundup III

~ "Tracking Criminals by Their Pores" (1921):
[Excerpt] IDENTIFICATION by arrangement of the pores of the skin—a method christened "poroscopy"—is described and illustrated in Discovery (London, October [1921]) by G. F. Frederick Lees. This method is effective when the finger-print is so imperfect that the whorls and ridges, by which identification is usually effected, are not numerous enough for this purpose. And even if they are, it is a fortifying adjunct to the usual method, and is, we are told, likely to be more convincing to a jury.  . . . — THE LITERARY DIGEST (November 5, 1921)
Some ideas make a comeback:
[Excerpt] A new way of analysing fingerprints by mapping sweat pores has been developed by South Korean scientists. The technique uses a water-sensitive polymer to detect the unique pattern of sweat pores on fingertips and may one day help the police to identify fingerprints left on surfaces that are impossible to scrutinise with current techniques.
Fingerprint analysis has been perhaps the most important single technique in the history of forensic science. Traditional fingerprint matching relies mainly on comparing the marks left by sweat as it runs along the fingers' unique ridges, leaving a unique pattern of amino acids and salts behind. This requires a significant proportion of the fingerprint for reliable comparison, and it is very difficult to obtain prints from a porous surface as the sweat soaks into the material, leaving only dot patterns marking the locations of the sweat pores rather than a complete print.  . . . — Tim Wogan, "Fingertip Sweat Pore Maps to Catch Criminals," CHEMISTRY WORLD (14 May 2014)
~ "Prison Facts" (1921) [13 pages]:
[Excerpt] . . . The present prison system is bad. I have hardly described all its evils.  . . . — Frank Tannenbaum, THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY (November 1921)
~ "Assassination with Germs" (1921):
[Excerpt] POISONING A VICTIM with disease germs, altho we read of it in detective stories, and occasionally in the papers, is extremely rare, we are told by a contributor to The Lancet (London). In fact, there are only two authenticated cases, and these are not strictly in point, for one of them was unsuccessful and the other was not done by means of bacteria but of a toxin—a bacterial product. An article that will dampen the spirits of those contem-plating anything of this sort. . . . — THE LITERARY DIGEST (December 31, 1921)
~ "Thuggery in Our Cities" (1922):
[Excerpt] AMERICA'S BIG CITIES seem to be the new battle-ground of banditry, which popular thought formerly associated with Mexico and our own "Wild West." By a strange perversion of the holiday spirit it makes its most flagrant showing at the Christmas season, police officials report.  . . . — THE LITERARY DIGEST (January 14, 1922)
~ "On a Jury" (1924) [5 pages]:
[Excerpt] A LONG while ago I got a notice telling me to hold myself ready to serve on a jury, and I held myself ready. Years passed—five of them—and nothing happened, except that—the law makes me timid—I continued ready. And then one day came the order to present myself at the Law Courts at 10 A.M. on the following Monday.  . . . — A Woman-Juror, THE LIVING AGE (October 18, 1924)
~ "Murder As a Diversion: Europe Philosophizes on Chicago Criminals" (1924) [7 pages]:
[Excerpt] IT is presumptuous to set a limit to the development of any art; and seeing how time and progress have turned to derision the exploits which inspired De Quincey to his essay on Murder as a Fine Art, and those others which caused Oscar Wilde to describe Wainewright as the final artist with 'pen, pencil, and poison,' we will not assume that the climax in this kind has been attained by the American boy murderers [Loeb and Leopold].  . . . — THE LIVING AGE (November 1, 1924)
~ "The Elwell Case" (1924) [20 pages]:
[Excerpt] THERE is an ancient saw which has it that a man's worst enemies are no more detrimental to his safety and well-being than his best friends, the reason being that the sheer sensual joy of hating is so deep as to amount practically to a human need. The object of hate thus is as precious a possession to the enemy as, in his more amiable aspects, he is to those who care for him in a better way. The philosophy is pagan. Far, therefore, from quarreling with it, we might take such truth as it contains and apply it to a celebrated murder case which just now is thrilling the city . . . . — Lawrence Perry in MODERN ESSAYS: SECOND SERIES, edited by Christopher Morley
~ "Finger-Prints" (1925) [5 pages]:
[Excerpt] . . . [Francis] Galton applied mathematics to the patterns he found on human finger-tips, and expressed the opinion that only once is 64,000,000,000 times was the exact duplication of a finger-print possible.
A later investigator, M. Balthazard of France, gives the ratio of possible duplications as 1 in [1 followed by 60 zeros]. You may take your choice. Such theorizing are solemnly laid down as law by finger-print experts in courtrooms, and are given credence by judges in their instructions to juries. But it must be obvious that they are not identical with absolute truth. There is no telling, indeed, when Nature may produce duplicate finger-designs, especially in one family.  . . . — John Nicholas Beffel, THE AMERICAN MERCURY (February 1925)
By F. Tennyson Jesse (1888-1958).
W. Heinemann Ltd.
1924. 258 pages. 8s. 6d.
The Classification of Motives
The Murder for Gain, William Palmer
The Murder from Revenge, Constance Kent
The Murder for Elimination, the De Quérangals
The Murder from Jealousy, Mrs. Pearcey
The Murder from Lust of Killing, Neill Cream
The Murder from Conviction, Orsin
. . . [Jesse's book] divided killers into six categories based on their motivations: those who murder for Gain, Revenge, Elimination, Jealousy, Conviction and Lust of Killing. This classification of motive has remained influential.
She contributed many cases to the Notable British Trials series, such as the trial of serial killer John Christie and the controversy surrounding the hanging of his neighbour, Timothy Evans. Her summary of the two trials is extensive, and concludes that Christie was probably the murderer of both Beryl and Geraldine Evans, and that Timothy Evans was innocent of their deaths (Evans was hanged for the murder of his daughter Geraldine, and posthumously pardoned). . . . — Wikipedia ("F. Tennyson Jesse")
[Full review] Some day, when we are civilized, we shall all be accessories before the fact, so that murder—including collective murder—will be a horrible memory of the past.
Now, as Miss Tennyson Jesse reminds us, 'everyone loves a good murder,' while the study of murder is the legitimate business of every alienist, criminal investigator, actor, and author.
This author's study of murder and its motives does some spade work toward the beginnings of comprehension of a subject in which all the world is, quite unscientifically, interested, and as such it will be read by a number of people who find in the stimulating drama of killing an irresistible attraction.
The author has taken six notable cases to illustrate the category into which the motives of murder may be divided; they are all of them typical, and all presented with careful fullness of detail and with psychological insight.
That Miss Jesse has gone into her subject with care, her bibliography at the end of the volume proves, but the average reader need not shrink from this as a merely scientific work; it is a bit of grim story-telling of extraordinary force and lucidity, a popular introduction to the study of criminology. — "Books Abroad," THE LIVING AGE (November 8, 1924; go to page 356, top left)
[Excerpt] . . . This lucid and perceptive book is a must for anyone who wishes to construct convincing criminals in their fiction. Sadly, it is out of print. The 1952 edition is dedicated to three people, one of whom is Algonquin Round Table member Alexander Woollcott.  . . . — Elizabeth Foxwell, THE BUNBURYIST (January 28, 2011)

Category: True crime

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