FRANCE: Long Shot

Dr. Marcel Petiot's 63 murders did not impress the atrocity-hardened French. But they were impressed by his agile defense and sheer gall last week in a trial in which his condemnation had seemed certain. Ceiling-high rows of victims' valises (containing 97 petticoats, 57 pairs of socks, and 97 shirts) failed to shake Petiot. Nor was he perturbed during the court's visit to his fashionable Paris home and ex-slaughter house, where they found a strange conglomeration of expensive Louis XVI furniture, human bones, and 600 volumes of murder mysteries.

When jurors scoffed at his story that he and his mysterious...

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