I'm not sure how to rate this, who I would recommend it to, or what I think of it. When I first saw this books page, having seen it on a friends updates, I was.... interested I guess you could say.
I've always been a fan of true crime and I'm always sort of leaned towards the wanting to see real crime photos and such. I've always been interested in the fictional t.v. shows like Law & Order, NYPD Blue, and CSI.
I ordered this, instead of waiting like I usually do, fairly soon after first seeing it. And then I tried to get into it. I failed. I found it incredibly boring to say the least. Some of the photos are downright shocking but I found the stories that accompany them not to my liking. I stuck it on a shelf and promptly forgot about it.
Since that time I've read another one or two books which include crime scene photos, although none have had fictional stories along with the pictures. I picked this up again by chance and found that I was immediately engaged. The only thing I can think of was that I wasn't in the right mood the first time around.
This isn't a long book by any means but I finished in in about three days. Parry's writing never bored me once the second time around. Some of the stories are more "exciting" than others. 'Two Waiters' and 'The Child Martyr' are two that come to mind right away. In the first Parry's description of the shirts, near the end of the story, is amazing. What's more amazing is how many people will probably not see the beauty in it. I thought it was wonderful.
There are a few pictures in the front and back of the book, not pertaining to any crimes. The ones in the front are of the cupboards where the criminal files were kept, the photography "studio" which can hardly be called a studio by todays standards, and how eye color and feet measurements were taken. In the back of the book one photo each of Cochefert and Bertillon are included and I always appreciate that, "seeing" the person/people I'm reading about almost always makes the experience better in my opinion.
I do wish Parry had included more about her own father, who the book is dedicated to. In the one photo included of her father he's 10 years old, newly arrived in the States and is seated at work. Apparently some 60 years later he murdered an old Greek friend of his. I would have liked to have learned more about this. Certainly more is known. It would be easy enough to find out on my own I suppose, or to at least try, but I'm lazy when it comes to Googling and I would have liked it in the book.
Nevertheless, the book is worth reading if you're into this sort of thing. The photos themselves do need to be mentioned. I would think anyone thinking about reading this type of book wouldn't be the squeamish sort but one never knows. Some of the photos are very tame, others are.... I'm not sure what word to even use. There are a few childrens pictures although these, for the most part, don't show much brutalization. This is mostly in the text. Be aware.
It's interesting how Parry weaved her stories about the photos and I'd love to know how much came from where.....
A very unique and fascinating collection of accounts of French Murders, complete with morbid photos!