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February 16 , 2009

Game, Set, Murder


At the beginning of August 1907, an early-morning train from Monte Carlo pulled into the Gare Saint-Charles in Marseilles. A trunk with a forwarding address was taken to the baggage section to await transportation. Some hours later a station employee, Louis Pons, noticed blood dripping from the trunk. The police were called and, on opening it, discovered a naked female corpse. The head and legs were missing. 

Thus began the investigation into a sensational case which drew the attention of newspapers the world over. An army of reporters congregated in Marseilles and Monte Carlo to chronicle every twist and turn of the murder inquiry and subsequent trial. From the notorious casino, the trail led to Marseilles, London, Liverpool, Canada – and ultimately to County Cork and Waterford. 

The couple arrested for the crime were Vere St Leger Goold, an Irish aristocrat, and his French wife Marie Giroudin. He was a former Irish Open tennis champion and Wimbledon finalist whose great promise in life had disintegrated into a mire of drink, drugs and gambling. His wife was a con artist, always one step ahead of the financial posse. 

This fascinating tale involves the components of forensic science, psychological profiling, judicial investigation and global reporting of historical character with a very contemporary echo.

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