CRF Blog

Violette Noziere

by Bill Hayes

In Violette Nozière: A Story of Murder in 1930s Paris, Sarah C. Maza recounts the story of the sexually abused 18 year old who murdered her father and whose trial riveted France.

From the New York Times Book Review:

Violette Nozière was found guilty of parricide in 1934 and sentenced to death, though few believed she would ever reach the guillotine. (In fact, after she underwent a Catholic “rebirth” in prison, her story was embraced as a symbol of redemption in Vichy-era France, and she was freed in 1945.) Maza explains brilliantly how and why Violette’s story — or a culturally acceptable version of her story — grew from being a mere fait divers, or miscellaneous news item, into a nationally staged drama that bound France in schadenfreude-laced fascination near the end of the turbulent and divisive Third Republic. Combining a neatly suspenseful account of Violette’s crime and its consequences with a richly layered cultural history (told via interrogation records, trial notes, an expert psychological report and an exhaustive reading of the popular press), she skillfully analyzes Violette’s transformation from wretched schoolgirl to cultural icon. [more]