The Butcher of Paris

Dark Horse. Dec. 2020. 112p. ISBN 9781506715698. pap. $19.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
This true story based on the investigation into a serial killer believed to have claimed as many as 200 victims opens in 1944, as authorities in Nazi-occupied Paris discover the bodies of multiple gruesomely mutilated corpses in the home of Dr. Marcel Petiot, who is nowhere to be found. When Petiot goes missing, the Nazis are too preoccupied enjoying the luxuries available in Paris to get worked up about a killer believed to have claimed ties to the French resistance in order to gain the trust of his victims, most of whom came to him hoping for help escaping the country. Their half-hearted investigation parallels—and often disrupts—that of French detective Georges-Victor Massu, who soon uncovers Petiot’s checkered war record and rumors of perversion, violence, and corruption. Just as he’s about to capture the killer, Massu is falsely accused of having colluded with the Nazis. When Petiot is eventually caught and brought to trial, Massu, cleared of charges but shattered by the experience, must decide whether to reengage with the legal system in order to see justice done.
VERDICT While chapters covering the investigation feel slightly underdeveloped, a final sequence detailing Petiot’s trial is truly captivating.
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