True Detective


Voltaire became steeped in the country’s rules of criminal procedure, a labyrinth he found appalling: “As there are half-proofs, that is to say, half-truths, it is clear that there are half-innocent and half-guilty persons. So we start by giving them a half-death, after which we go to lunch.” He fretted at how France appeared to other nations—“Do they not say that we know how to break a man on the wheel but do not know how to fight?”—and steamed at the judicial system’s secrecy, which allowed Toulouse’s Parlement to keep to itself the evidence used to convict.

In 1761, Voltaire became acquainted with an unsolved murder case and helped solve it. The way he managed to conduct the inquiry is still of a great importance, Ken Armstrong explains in an essay over at the Paris Review.

Guia Cortassa was born, lives, and works in Milan, Italy. After working as a Contemporary Art curator, she went back to writing. She is a contributing editor for Ondarock and her writing has appeared on Rivista Studio, Flair and the Quietus. She compulsively tweets @gcmorvern. More from this author →