Showing posts with label fait divers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fait divers. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Humans are fascinated by outlandish crimes committed by celebrities

My friend Jean Sendy [1910-1978] said that society’s most murderous criminals were in fact interesting specimens who had harmed no more than the victims they happened to assassinate, while fascinating most observers. So, instead of being condemned to death, such criminals should be treated with respect. Sendy suggested that bicycle thieves, on the other hand, annoy so many citizens constantly that they deserve to be shot at dawn.


The attempted assassination of Arthur Rimbaud, 18, by his lover Paul Verlaine, 29, in Brussels in July 1873, has always fascinated enthusiasts of out-of-the-way crimes. Rimbaud had been upset by Verlaine’s intention of returning to his heterosexual marriage, and they got into a violent squabble. Verlaine fired two shots, one of which wounded the young poet in the wrist. Verlaine was arrested, and went to jail for 555 days.


The arm of the crime was a commonplace six-bullet revolver of the Lefaucheux brand. Its current owner put the old weapon up for sale, expecting some 55,000 euros. The dull revolver was auctioned off today at Christie's in Paris for eight times that amount: 434,500 euros.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Electrician who worked for Picasso

In theory, when an electrician such as Pierre Le Guennec works well for a painter such as Pablo Picasso [1881-1973], it’s quite likely that he’ll receive a few paintings. The expression “a few” is vague. To be more precise, let’s say that the lucky electrician received a  bag full of 271 Picasso paintings. The electrician’s wife Danielle Le Guennec confirmed that they were a gift from the artist.


Some observers have never really believed this story about a gift from Picasso. That’s why the electrician and his wife were condemned in February 2015 for the concealment of stolen goods. Today, an appeals trial has started at Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône).

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Waiting for the murderer to show up

Two journalists, Jean-Michel Laurence and Béatrice Fontenau, have published a book about a French criminal affair that remains unsolved, at least in theory : the Dupont de Ligonnès mystery.


Beneath the rear porch of a nondescript house in Nantes, in April 2011, police found the remains of an adult female and four young individuals.


 DNA tests revealed that the bodies were those of Agnès Dupont de Ligonnès and her four offspring: three sons and a daughter.


As for the father, Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès, no trace of him has been found since 15 April 2011, when he was seen leaving a low-cost hotel in Roquebrune-sur-Argens, carrying a bag on his back that might have contained a weapon. The police are looking out for him constantly.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Omar to kill me


The sentence “Omar m’a tuer” is unintelligible French, as if it had been written by an illiterate person. At first sight, Mme Ghislaine Marchal—the author of those words in blood—seems to be saying that she had been killed by Omar in her villa at Mougins (Alpes-Maritimes). But why would that dying French lady have used such poor grammar?

On that flimsy evidence, in 1991, the Moroccan gardener Omar Raddad was condemned and jailed. But he persisted non-stop upon his innocence. In 1998, he was liberated, and now lives in Morocco.


A recent analysis of DNA specimens from the scene of the crime provides new facts. Four males, none of whom was Omar Raddad, have left traces of their presence. Will the real murderer be identified at last?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Poet assassinated

Last night in Guatemala, the celebrated 74-year-old Argentinian composer-singer Facundo Cabral was gunned down by unidentified assailants in a passing motor vehicle.

In the 1970s, Cabral was made famous by his poem No soy de aqui, ni soy de alla (I am not from here, nor from elsewhere).



During the military dictatorship in Argentinia [1976-1983], Cabral was exiled in Mexico. Then he wandered throughout the world as a troubadour. In 1996, Unesco named him a World messenger of peace.

Why is a poet assassinated? A poet of peace. Adios, amigo.