The Killer of Little Shepherds was nominated for the Edgar Award in 2011 for Best Fact Crime Book. This true crime history by Douglas Starr traces the murders perpetrated by Joseph Vacher in the late 1800s in France along with the birth of forensic science in Europe.
Vacher, a former member of the French army, became a vagabond in the rural areas of France where he was able to kill undetected because of the lack of a trained local police force. The work of Alexandre Lacassange in autopsies and determining the time and cause of death, Alphonse Bertillon in developing a system of identification for criminals that preceded fingerprinting, and Cesare Lombrosso’s theory of the “born criminal” created a modern, scientific method for tracking down serial killers like Vacher. The work of these early forensic scientists led to Vacher’s eventual capture, trial and execution.
Author: Starr, Douglas P.
Title: The killer of little shepherds : a true crime story and the birth of forensic science
Publisher: A.A. Knopf, 2010.
Call Number: KJV131.V33 S73 2010
(Review by criminology librarian Elizabeth Barron)