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The Killer and the Saint: Pranzini and Thérèse

In 1887, the following report appeared in the The Times:

Paris: March 17th

A triple murder was discovered this morning in the Rue Montaigne. A courtesan named Monty, or Regnault, lay dead at the foot of her bed, with two gashes on her throat, while her servant-maid and her daughter, a girl of 12, had been murdered in their bed. The supposed murderer is a man who mounted the stair just as the concierge was putting out the gas. He had vainly attempted to force a safe containing jewels worth 200,000f., and is presumed to have taken the money from the victim’s pocket. She was about 30 years of age. There are no traces of any struggle, but the occupants of the flat below heard a slight noise at 10 o’clock this morning. The concierge appears to have been accustomed to pull the checkstring about sunrise to let out the woman’s visitors.

A mysterious figure mounting the stairs as the gaslight was dimmed, a multiple murder, with one of the victims a courtesan, a theft, and, later, with nothing unusual in the room but a “cuff and belt” with the name “Geissler” inscribed upon them. These facts proved sensational enough to excite the press of the day as the hunt got underway for a thief and a killer, with the only clue being the name inked upon letters found at the scene.

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