Jane Turnbull

Agency News

Landru's Secret - The deadly seductions of France's lonely hearts serial killer

This gripping true crime narrative is one of my favourite books of the autumn and there's a great interview with author Richard Tomlinson in the current Ham and High Gazette. LANDRU - a real life Bluebeard - met and 'disappeared' ten women in Paris during the first world war. He found his victims via classified 'lonely hearts' ads and took them to the country outside Paris (literally with a one-way ticket) whence they never emerged. It was only thanks to the determination of two of the relations of the victims - two women who refused to be deterred by the patronising male investigators - that Landru was finally caught. His trial was the hottest ticket in Paris 1921 and sensational in the battle between the defence and prosecution - and the bizarre behaviour of the prisoner who was eventually guillotined on (overwhelming) circumstantial evidence as no bodies were ever found.

Richard Tomlinson has spent years looking at original documents long buried in French police archives and has come up with the only convincing theory about what happened to the bodies.

Film rights are being negotiated now.

Sally Mitchell