Blood found at the
scene of the crime has trapped many killers who thought they removed all
incriminating traces. A sensational demonstration of this was provided
by the French detective Gustave Mace in 1869, when he was interrogating
a murder suspect in the room which he believed had been the scene of a
ghastly crime involving the dismemberment of the victim.
Convinced that a great
deal of blood must have been shed, Mace looked about the room but could
see no obvious traces. Then he noticed a marked hollow in the tiled
floor. With the suspect looking on in astonishment, the detective took a
jug of water and tipped the contents on the floor - the water collected
in the hollow area, and when the tiles were lifted their under-surfaces
were found to be caked with dried blood. This discovery led to a murder
confession by Pierre Voirbo and to a triumph of detection for Mace.
famous nineteenth-century case in
from a well in the cellar of a restaurant had made several customers
ill, and an investigation located a fabric package that contained a
decomposing male leg. Detective Gustave Macé then pulled a second leg
from the well, also wrapped in fabric. He learned about a man who’d
wandered around with smelly packages and believed it had been a tailor
name Pierre Voirbo.
the victim was identified, Macé discovered that Voirbo had recently
quarreled with him over money, which made Voirbo a prime suspect. Macé
went to question Voirbo and noticed that his lodgings had recently been
cleaned. The cleaning woman said that Voirbo had done it.
was afraid any evidence he might have found there was now lost, but then
he realized that the floors were tiled, with alleys between the tiles.
He poured water on the floor to see where it ran, and then lifted the
tiles in the area where it had pooled. Beneath them was enough blood to
indicate that something violent had occurred in that room.
Voirbo, who watched the incriminating
demonstration, broke down and confessed.