Mswas’ CBR-III Review #14 – The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo03/27/2011
Three of the world’s best detectives invite other skilled professionals to join a group dedicated to solving cold cases, unsolved murders of innocent people. But this isn’t CBS’s Cold Case, this is reality. The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo is non-fiction, but it seems almost unbelievable. Forensic psychologist Richard Walter and forensic artist Frank Bender were polar opposites. Walter was tall, melancholy, and reserved, and Bender was ‘high school-educated, blunt-spoken, happily sex-addicted, and a psychic.’ Two unlikely individuals were brought together by William Lynn Fleisher. Fleisher, a large man who was a former FBI agent.
This interesting story of the three men and the Vidocq Society that they eventually found is quite compelling, but unfortunately the author doesn’t do them justice. I had a hard time following the various backstories of the three men, and the answers to the crimes they faced were also scattered through the book.
It’s a shame, because the idea of a members-only society with the mission to fight crime – unsolved deaths that are more than two years old – is incredibly interesting. Named for Eugène François Vidocq, the founder of the first French state detective agency, this group has solved a number of cold cases. The individual sections themselves that described the cases were very good, and there were lots of gripping parts of the book. However, Capuzzo needed a better editor to help him to better pull his threads together. The chronological thread was all over the place as well. When time is a factor in a storyline like the Time Traveller’s Wife or others, you expect it, but it was hard to follow. Capuzzo seems to be better suited to fiction.