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Synopsis - On the evening of May 16, 1937, the train doors opened at the Porte DorTe station in the Paris MTtro to reveal a dying woman slumped by a window, an eight-inch stiletto buried to its hilt in her neck. No one witnessed the crime, and the killer left behind little forensic evidence. This first-ever murder in the Paris MTtro dominated the headlines for weeks during the summer of 1937, as journalists and the police slowly uncovered the shocking truth about the victim: a twenty-nine-year-old Italian immigrant, the beautiful and elusive Laetitia Toureaux. Toureaux toiled each day in a factory, but spent her nights working as a spy in the seamy Parisian underworld. Just as the dangerous spy Mata Hari fascinated Parisians of an earlier generation, the mystery of ToureauxAÆs murder held the French public spellbound in pre-war Paris, as the police tried and failed to identify her assassin. In Murder in the MTtro, Gayle K. Brunelle and Annette Finley-Croswhite unravel ToureauxAÆs complicated and mysterious life, assessing her complex identity within the larger political context of the time. They follow the trail of ToureauxAÆs murder investigation to the ComitT Secret dAÆAction RTvolutionnaire, a secret right-wing political organization popularly known as the Cagoule, or ôhooded ones.ö Obsessed with the Communist threat they perceived in the growing power of labor unions and the French left wing, the CagouleAÆs leaders aimed to overthrow FranceAÆs Third Republic and install an authoritarian regime allied with Italy. With Mussolini as their ally and Italian fascism as their model, they did not shrink from committing violent crimes and fomenting terror to accomplish their goal. In 1936, Toureauxùat the behest of the French policeùinfiltrated this dangerous group of terrorists and seduced one of its leaders, Gabriel Jeantet, to gain more information. This operation, the authors show, eventually cost Toureaux her life. The tale of Laetitia Toureaux epitomizes the turbulence of 1930s France, as the country prepared for a war most people dreaded but assumed would come. This period, therefore, generated great anxiety but also offered new opportunitiesùand risksùto Toureaux as she embraced the identity of a ômodernö woman. The authors unravel her murder as they detail her story and that of the Cagoule, within the popular culture and conflicted politics of 1930s France. By examining documents related to ToureauxAÆs murderùdocuments the French government has sealed from public view until 2038ùBrunelle and Finley-Croswhite link ToureauxAÆs death not only to the Cagoule but also to the Italian secret service, for whom she acted as an informant. Their research provides likely answers to the question of the identity of ToureauxAÆs murderer and offers a fascinating look at the dark and dangerous streets of preûWorld War II Paris.

 

Publishers Weekly - On May 16, 1937, Laetitia Toureaux, a 29-year-old Italian-born factory worker, was murdered in an otherwise empty first-class compartment on a Paris métro train. The case has never been solved, and the case files were ordered sealed for 101 years. In this fascinating book, historians Brunelle (California State, Fullerton) and Finley-Croswhite (Old Dominion) reveal that Toureaux was no mere factory worker. Ambitious but naïve, she was involved, both personally and politically, with a secret, extremist fascist group known as the Cagoule; she also worked for a detective agency and was an informer for both the French police and the Italian secret service. The authors look at the bitterly fractious world of 1930s French politics and explore in depth both Toureaux's enigmatic life and the press's portrayal of her as a loose woman and “social climber.” The authors also delve into the violent history of the Cagoule, which broke away from the better-known Action Française. Finally, they provide a “speculative” but “strong plausible case” for who murdered Toureaux and why. Brunelle and Finley-Croswhite have produced an exceptionally fine work that is well-researched and documented and consistently compelling. (May)

 

Murder in the Metro: Laetitia Toureaux and the Cagoule in 1930s France by Gayle K. Brunelle, Annette Finley-Croswhite (Editor)


 

L’énigme du meurtre du métro

Dimanche 16 mai 1937, 18h30Laetitia Toureaux, une jeune ouvrière d’origine italienne monte dans une rame Porte de Charenton, au terminus de la ligne 8. Une minute plus tard, six voyageurs montent à la station suivante, Porte Dorée. La jeune femme est seule dans le wagon. Le visage baissé sous son chapeau blanc, elle semble endormie…

 

Tout à coup, tandis que le métro repart, son corps s’écroule au sol dans une mare de sang. Un couteau Laguiole est planté dans sa nuque. Le coup a été porté avec une violence telle, que la lame, enfoncée jusqu’à la garde, a sectionné la moelle épinière. Laetitia Toureaux vit alors encore, mais décèdera dans l’ambulance qui l’emmènera à l’hôpital Saint Antoine...

 

 

Pour lire la suite

 

Meurtre de Laetitia Toureaux dans le métro en 1937 | Visites ...

www.pariszigzag.fr/histoire.../le-meurtre-de-la-porte-de-charenton

5 déc. 2011 – En 1937, Laetitia Toureaux est assasinée dans le métro. Voici l'histoire de cette incroyable énigme qui a passionné la France des années ...

 

Affaires criminelles - Criminalité (45)

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