They never found her head
September 12, 2006 10:43 PM   Subscribe

Dr. Crippen. He poisoned his wife, buried her in the basement, and then escaped with his female lover disguised as man and son aboard a ship. Then there was Patrick Mahon, who chopped up his mistress and stashed her in a trunk at Waterloo Station, among other places. The connection between these two men? Aside from addressing the problem of how to dispose of a body, they inspired Rear Window.
posted by Astro Zombie (10 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Actually, Waterloo station had a bag, and it was full of bloody rags, Mahon tried to pass off as being caused by dog meat. The body was back at home.

I'm self-correcting.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:58 PM on September 12, 2006

More on Crippen at the excellent Marconi Calling archive.
posted by tellurian at 11:18 PM on September 12, 2006

And who played Lars Thorwald, the Rear Window neighbor-dismemberer based on Mahon? OMG — Perry Mason!
posted by rob511 at 11:22 PM on September 12, 2006

I take it you read a lot of Crime Library.
posted by nonmerci at 11:25 PM on September 12, 2006

Outstanding post Astro Zombie.

The problem with murder has always been getting rid of the body. At the old saw goes "A friend will help you move house, a real friend will help you move a body."
posted by three blind mice at 11:49 PM on September 12, 2006

Great post.

The crime novelist George Pelecanos has a murderous character refer to the "car battery" method of body disposal. You smash the skull apart until dental records are impossible to get, then you pour battery acid on the fingertips to take care of prints.

Didn't work for me, but I've only tried it once.
posted by bardic at 1:05 AM on September 13, 2006

Crippen also gets a mention in Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps". During one of the Mr Memory scenes, an audience member asks something like: "What year was Crippen hanged?".
posted by bunglin jones at 12:11 AM on September 14, 2006

bardic, I told you to never, ever mention that.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:41 AM on September 14, 2006

Shame they didn't read the "how to dispose of a body" AskMe thread.
posted by zsazsa at 5:49 AM on September 14, 2006

Thanks for this.

Rear Window is my favorite Hitchcock film, but I've never gotten around to reading the short story that it's based on. Or anything else about what went into it, really.
posted by sparkletone at 12:31 PM on September 14, 2006

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