LITTLE DEMON IN THE CITY OF LIGHT : A TRUE STORY OF MURDER AND MESMERISM IN BELLE EPOQUE PARIS
by Steven Levingston
Could a person under the influence of hypnotism commit a crime against their will and then be considered guilty? This was a question towards the end of the nineteenth century that was debated heatedly by doctors, lawyers, investigators, and scientists. Mesmerism was quite the rage then in Paris.
In 1889, a married man (quite the womanizer) thinks he is going to have this lovely tryst with the young Gabrielle Gompard. Instead he is murdered by Gompard and her lover Michel Eyraud. They stuff the body in a trunk and dump it on the riverbank of Lyon.
When Gompard is eventually caught, she will claim that she was not responsible for the murder, that because of being hypnotized she didn't really know what she was doing.
The trial was an epic event. Tabloids spread the lascivious news all over the world for months on end. It would be the first time that hypnotism would be used as a means of defense for a murderer.
Little Demon in the City of Light is one terrific book. Author Steven Levingston has great attention to detail that immediately draws you in and doesn't let go. The writing is superb. He effortlessly weaves together everything: the characters, hypnotism, the time period into an extraordinary story.
Levingston is to be commended for the amount of research he did to produce a mesmerizing tale.
Very highly recommended.