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Documents the brutal 1889 murder of a lascivious court official by a ruthless con man and his pliant mistress, tracing the ensuing manhunt and sensational trial against period debates about whether someone could be hypnotically compelled to commit crimes. "The thrilling--and so wonderfully French--story of a gruesome 1889 murder of a lascivious court official by a ruthless con man and his pliant mistress, an international manhunt, a sensational trial, and an inquiry into the limits of hypnotic power. In France at the end of the nineteenth century a great debate raged over the question of whether someone could be hypnotically compelled to commit a crime in violation of his or her moral convictions. When Alexandre-Toussaint Gouffe entered a Parisian building at 3 rue Tronson Ducoudray for what he thought would be a delightful assignation with the comely young Gabrielle Bompard, only to be murdered--hanged!--by her and her ruthless companion Michel Eyraud, stuffed in a trunk, and dumped on a riverbank near Lyon, that question became the burning center of an inquiry into the guilt or innocence of a woman the French tabloids dubbed "The Little Demon.""--