Death by Gluttony: The Murderer Who Dined Men to Death Part 1

About the murderer Father Gourier, his unsuaul method of murder, wining and dining his victims till they die by overeatings.

The Murderer Who Dined Men to Death

One would be hard put to find better food for thought in the annals of crime or cooking than the story of the French murderer Pere Gourier. The history of French cuisine is filled with incredible characters: Louis XIV, the Sun King, whose stomach was 3 times larger than an ordinary man's; the chef Vatel, who committed suicide when a banquet he had prepared turned out badly; the gourmand Desessart, whose stomach was so large that one gallant dueling opponent graciously drew a circle upon it which he agreed would be his only target; the anonymous cook who served Donkey's Brains a la Diplomate to Napoleon III; the farout chef Jules Maincave, who concocted, among other delicacies, peanut butter and jelly soup. The list is endless, but no French gourmand or murderer was more incredible than Gourier--Who dined men to death.

Gourier, known to history only as Father Gourier, actually murdered his many victims by wining and dining them. His technique did not involve a rare poison or, for that matter, anything illegal. No, Gourier, a rich landowner, always stayed strictly within the limits of the law. Each year he simply chose a victim and killed him at the dining table. Sometimes this took a full year, other times as little as 2 months, but Gourier managed to dispatch from 7 to 9 men before his scheme backfired.

Gourier's method was to gorge his guests with rich heavy food, not once, but at every meal, and every day for as long as it took to kill. Greed and gluttony were his accomplices. Since the meals were free, his victims happily ate as much as they could get. Money was of no importance to Gourier. The maitre d'hotel and waiters at the Brebant, Vejour, Tortoni's, the Cafe de Paris, and other expensive Parisian restaurants knew Gourier well. The waiters eventually discovered Gourier's taste for murder, but there was nothing they could do about it. The gourmand began to boast of his exploits. He'd suddenly appear with a new guest and a waiter would inquire about his previous night's companion. "Oh, I buried him this morning," Gourier would say. "He was nothing great. I got him in less than 2 months." His boasting led to his downfall, but not because the law caught up with him.

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