Mystery Monday – The Murder Room

It’s the first post of the New and Improved Mark Fadden’s Blog! And for “Mystery Mondays” what better subject for writer’s to talk about then mystery books we love! They are at the same time our inspiration and our research. I can think of no better book that fits each of those roles better than The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo.

Opening with a scene where one of their founders breaks, of all people, a priest into admitting he had relations with young boys,  Capuzzo chronicles the adventures of the Vidocq Society, a group comprised of the Top Guns of criminal profiling, former FBI agents, and homicide veterans that meet in a room in Philadelphia to work on unsolved cases pro bono, while they feast on spectacular meals on white tablecloths. 

Reading like a best-selling mystery novelCapuzzo dredges up the details of each cold case featured in the book with a tenacity and doggedness seen in the best of today’s investigative reporters. Another facet of the book is that he also gives us an intimate, almost too much at times, look at three of the group’s founding members – William Fleischer, Frank Bender and Richard Walter, who is also known as the “living Sherlock Holmes.”

From a research aspect, I’ve dog-eared many pages in the book. The cases and characters are on full frontal display throughout. Beyond that, the writing itself is worthy of becoming a study aid for writers. Alot of non-fiction, at least the amount that I’ve seen, has a tendency to drag in places. Non-fiction about forensics and murder can, at times, be a marathon of how-much-gore-can-you-handle. But Capuzzo puts a human face on these stories; the research he completed has been exhaustive. The story that he keeps coming back to throughout the book about the “Boy in the Box” will absolutely break your heart.

Thank you to Mr. Capuzzo for putting this book together. I’m sure I’m not the only writer that will continue to use it for inspiration for years to come.

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Check out his novels at www.markfadden.com.

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