Les Bourreaux, France’s ‘Executors of High Works.’


I recently had a brief Twitter conversation with a fellow scribe at Crime Traveller and these gentlemen came up therein, so I thought their story might be interesting to look at in more detail. ‘The Executor of High Works’ was a grandiose title for so unrelentingly grim a profession, especially one traditionally inherited by people …

Orson Welles and the Black Museum.


  "This is Orson Welles speaking from London. The Black Museum, repository of death... Here, in this grim stone structure on the Thames which houses Scotland Yard, is a warehouse of homicide where everyday objects, a piece of wire, a chemist's flask, a silver shilling, all are touched by murder..."   In today's internet age …

On This Day in 1953 – France’s last inmates return from Devil’s Island.


"The Bagne is a charnel house, a mass grave, running from syphilis to tuberculosis, with all the tropical diseases one can imagine (carrying malaria, ankylosis, amoebic dysentery, leprosy, etc.), all destined to work hand in hand with an Administration whose task it is to diminish the number of prisoners consigned to its care. The fiercest …