IN this collection of true detective stories, a famous British investigator, a pupil of Dr. Bertillon, recounts the inside story of some of recent history's most famous crimes.
The murder of Don Ramon Valdez, the plot of Orsini to break the bank at Monte Carlo, the final hunt for the Apache Latouche, two crimes of the "perfect murderer," Hanoi Shan, and others, are all told in a clear, concise, not undramatic fashion. They are tales of detection at first hand, for in almost every case the author himself had some part.
The author has a theory that the police are always a step ahead of the criminal--this indeed like the "You Can't Win" posters in the subways of New York, is one of the main reasons for the writing of the book. Mr. Ashton-Wolfe, particularly in the cases dealing with Hanoi Shan, shows that even the cleverest criminal meets his match. Many murders were committed by this Oriental, who with diabolical cleverness managed always to leave his victims in such a position that the demise seemed due to suicide. But finally Dr. Bertillon grew suspicious, and even this master of murderers was foiled by the science of detection.
Yes, decidedly, truth is stranger than fiction. So much stranger in fact that were it not for the author's reputation and his frequent reference to police records and newspaper files we should set down his tales not as truth, but fiction.