Crime and Criminals

The First Morphine Murderer Edme Castaing

The opiate and pain medication morphine began to be marketed to the public in 1817, and, four years later, in 1821, a young man by the name of Edme Samuel Castaing graduated from the School of Medicine in Paris as a physician. He had been an outstanding student during his school years and won many…

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19th Century Romance and Murder in France

A story of romance and murder in France begins with a 30-year-old man named Antoine Roure, who was described as tall, strong, with a long face and blue eyes. He also had a beard and dark-blond hair. He belonged to one of the richest families in Marseilles, possessed a considerable fortune, and owned a villa…

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The French Sherlock Holmes, Detective Eugène François Vidocq

The French Sherlock Holmes, detective Eugène François Vidocq, was born on the 24 July 1775* in Arras in the Pas de Calais, Nord, France. He was the third child of a baker named Nicolas Joseph François Vidocq and his wife Henriette Françoise Dion. Vidocq earned the nickname le Vautrin (“wild boar”), and this was the…

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Polite Robber of the 18th Century: Louis Mandrin

Louis Mandrin was a well-known French smuggler and highwayman during Louis XV’s reign. He was also extremely popular during his lifetime and considered the Robin Hood of France because he rebelled against Louis XV’s tax collectors. The tax collectors, called fermiers, collected taxes for salt (the gabelle), tobacco, and farming. The tax collectors had to…

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Attempted Assassination of Napoleon Bonaparte in the 19th Century

Threats against Napoleon’s life were not rare. In fact, there were many assassination attempts. One failed royalist assassination attempt, known as the plot of the rue Saint-Nicaise, occurred on Christmas Eve in 1800. It resulted in a bomb blast and left Napoleon badly shaken but unscathed. Another failed attempt involved snuff. In this case, royalists…

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Dreadful Murder in France in 1818 by a Peddler

A dreadful murder in France in 1818 by a peddler had everyone talking. It also had newspapers everywhere reporting on the horrid event that occurred in Brie. It all began when a peddler and his wife presented themselves at a farmer’s door named Monsieur Pinard around nightfall in June of 1818. They asked if they…

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The French Robin Hood or the Prince of Smugglers: Louis Mandrin

Louis Mandrin has been called the French Robin Hood or the Prince of Smugglers. He became famous for rebelling against the tax collectors of France during the time of Louis XV. The tax collectors, known as fermiers, were (tax) farmers who collected taxes for the King. However, besides the pre-agreed tax amount, the tax collectors…

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