The Killer of Little Shepherds tells the story of the early days of forensic science (circa 1890's), back when doctors performed autopsies bare-handed, sometimes on the victim's own dining room table. The heroes of this true-crime tale are a prosecutor, Emile Fourquet, who must piece together a serial killer's trail before there really was such a thing as a serial killer, and Dr. Alexandre Lacassagne, a pioneering criminologist. Their target is the evil Vacher, a cold-blooded brute who roams the countryside of France killing, raping, and mutilating young innocents in fits of lust and gore.
These were the days when villages didn't necessarily communicate with one another, so Vacher could kill in one village and escape to the next with no one the wiser. The villages would be left to blame their own citizens and often wrongly avenged in horrible measures. This was also the beginning of the defense position of 'not guilty by reason of insanity.' Prior to this era, even if you were insane, you were thought to be on the 'wrong side of God' and executed anyway. In the end, Vacher must prove himself handily insane. If not, the guillotine awaits! This book is a must-read for fans of 'CSI' or 'Bones' or even Sherlock Holmes. But beware of Vacher, the killer of little shepherds!