Detective Marie Francois Goron and the Gouffe Case Part 1

About the famous detective Marie Francois Goron and the Gouffe Case, account of the crime, biography and history of the detective.


The Crime

All she wore was a kimono-type robe, around which she had wrapped a sash of red and white silk. The middle-aged man knew she was a whore, but he was touched by the steps she had taken to lend their liaison a measure of dignity. Champagne and cognac were on the table near the divan, and a curtain had been drawn down the middle of the tiny one-room apartment in order to conceal her bed.

He sat down on the divan; she settled on his lap. She offered him wine, but he refused it. She removed the silk sash from around her robe, and as he fondled the unusually small breasts, she laughingly wound the sash around his neck.

"What a handsome necktie it makes," she told him.

Lost in an embrace, he failed to notice as she quickly fastened the sash to a concealed hemp rope draped over the top of the curtain. In an instant, the sash and rope grew taut, and his neck was yanked upward until his whole body was suspended in the air. There was no screaming, no noise at all in fact, and in a few minutes it was all over. Her accomplice stepped out from behind the curtain, and together they searched the dead man's pockets. Suddenly, she saw the victim's eyes twitch. "Finish him," she whispered. Her companion, a man of enormous physical strength despite his short stature, obligingly returned to his position behind the curtain and hoisted the body upward again. At last, all signs of life were extinguished.

Enter the Detective

Sunday, July 28, 1889 was no day of rest for Marie Francois Goron, chief of the Paris Surete. He was working at his desk when one of his secretaries handed him a newspaper report regarding the mysterious disappearance of a Parisian bailiff, 49-year-old Toussaint Augustin Gouffe. Intuitively, Goron knew this was no case of running off or suicide; it was murder.

Already enjoying a reputation as a supersleuth, Goron nonetheless fell far short of fulfilling the image of a masterful detective. He was short and fat and he suffered from attacks of asthma. He had a waxed mustache and wore a pince-nez, and his tawny-colored hair was--according to a contemporary--"cropped like a rat." But those eyes. Sharp as needles, penetrating, inquisitorial, Goron's eyes missed nothing, and he happily took credit for cracking some of the toughest crime rings in the city.

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