Viviane Janouin-Benanti

The Killer on the Paris-Mulhouse Line

Version française

An Elusive Railway Murderer

A daring criminal, Charles Jud terrorized passengers on the Paris-Mulhouse railway line in the mid-19th century. Among his victims are a Russian professor of medicine and a high-ranking magistrate named Poinsot.

A master of the art of disguise, he could appear as an attractive woman or as an athletic man. Uncatchable, he repeatedly taunted the finest French detectives trying to stop him, sending them letters and mocking them by appearing from time to time and then vanishing. A real-life Arsène Lupin, without the moral code to stop him from committing the most horrific crimes.

He became a railway legend and inspired novelists like Émile Zola in La Bête humaine (1890) and Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre in the creation of the title character of the Fantomas French crime novel series that was adapted to film and television in the early 20th century. He also fascinated journalists who attributed all the unsolved rail crimes to him over the course of many years. The fear that he inspired in travelers forced the authorities to install alarm signals in all the train cars.

A dizzying life story with some fascinating characters, novelist Viviane Janouin-Benanti has, once again, all of the ingredients needed to concoct a deliciously compelling narrative.

Hop aboard and immerse yourself in this incredible true story.