Murder in the Métro: Laetitia Toureaux and the Cagoule in 1930s France
On the evening of May 16, 1937, the train doors opened at the Porte Dorée station in the Paris Métro to reveal a dying woman slumped by a window, an eight-inch stiletto buried to its hilt in her neck. No one witnessed the crime, and the killer left behind little forensic evidence. This first-ever murder in the Paris Métro dominated the headlines for weeks during the summer of 1937, as journalists and the police slowly uncovered the shocking truth about the victim: a twenty-nine-year-old Italian immigrant, the beautiful and elusive Laetitia Toureaux. Toureaux toiled each day in a factory, but spent her nights working as a spy in the seamy Parisian underworld. Just as the dangerous spy Mata Hari fascinated Parisians of an earlier generation, the mystery of Toureaux's murder held the French public spellbound in pre-war Paris, as the police tried and failed to identify her assassin.
By examining documents related to Toureaux's murder -- documents the French government has sealed from public view until 2038 -- Brunelle and Finley-Croswhite link Toureaux's death not only to the Cagoule but also to the Italian secret service, for whom she acted as an informant. Their research provides likely answers to the question of the identity of Toureaux's murderer and offers a fascinating look at the dark and dangerous streets of pre--World War II Paris. [Amazon.com]
Louisiana State University Press
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Laetitia Toureaux, Case studies, Comité Secret d'Action Révolutionnaire, Murder, Murder investigations, Paris (France), Right-wing extremists
Criminology and Criminal Justice | Cultural History | European History | Political History
Brunelle, Gayle K. and Finley-Croswhite, S. Annette, "Murder in the Métro: Laetitia Toureaux and the Cagoule in 1930s France" (2010). History Faculty Bookshelf. 10.