Aaron Freundschuh is Associate Professor of History at Queens College, CUNY. His research deals with urban history, criminality and policing. His first book The Courtesan and the Gigolo came out in January 2017 with Stanford University Press.
The intrigue began with a triple homicide in a luxury apartment building just steps from the Champs-Elysées, in March 1887. A high-class prostitute and two others, one of them a child, had been stabbed to death—the latest in a string of unsolved murders targeting women of the Parisian demimonde. Newspapers eagerly reported the lurid details, and when the police arrested Enrico Pranzini, a charismatic and handsome Egyptian migrant, the story became an international sensation. As the case descended into scandal and papers fanned the flames of anti-immigrant politics, the investigation became thoroughly enmeshed with the crisis-driven political climate of the French Third Republic and the rise of xenophobic right-wing movements Pranzini's case provides a window into a transformational decade for the history of immigration, nationalism, and empire in France.