Medicine: The Case of the Mad Killer

You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded — with what caution — with what foresight — with what dissimulation I went to work . . . Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in!

—The Tell-Tale Heart

Fictional characters like Poe's stealthy stabber have given many a whodunit fan the notion that an insane murderer is "fiendishly clever" in planning and executing his crimes. Poppycock, say two psychiatric authorities in a recent issue of the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.

Dr. Louis Cohen, who...

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