Don’t Profile this Author

Profiles in Murder is my least favorite profiling book that I’ve read so far. I appreciated that Vorpagel covered all types of profiling, especially death scene investigation: figuring out if a death was a murder, suicide, or accident. That was a different dimension from the books I’ve read by Hazelwood and Douglas (aside from Hazelwood’s coverage of auto-erotic death). However, the format of this book was really distracting, and made it difficult to take the book seriously. For one thing, it was an incredibly easy read, the sort that makes me suspect this was written on approximately a middle school level. For another thing, the format, where the co-author writes about Vorpagel in the third person, in what I assume to be a generic class setting with fictional students, just felt very cheesy. Had it been an actual retelling of a specific class, with real students and examples, it might have felt more credible, but it was still a strange format for this type of book.
Also, I was kind of horrified as I was reading, to come across a story that identified a suspect/ victim as a “Negro”. I realize this book is a bit out of date, but still I was surprised by that choice of words, and by what a point the author made to identify students by their race (The Asian woman. The Hispanic woman. The African American man. Kudos for diversity, but it was handled very obviously and awkwardly.)
Despite the distractions, the book was a VERY quick read, as I said. Until the last few chapters. I found Vorpagel’s “final” for his “class” to be filled with details I couldn’t follow, that turned out not to be relevant, and was debated for far too long, repetitively, by his “students”. And the final story, about the extremist Rastafarians, felt tacked on. It wasn’t an example of Vorpagel’s work, since he was the target/ victim, and was told primarily from the criminal’s perspective, which I found unrealistic. Even with expert profiling, I doubt that someone can accurately retell every thought and action of the criminal up through the crime and afterwards. This happened throughout the book, but was most glaring in the final story, and definitely contributed to the cheesy true crime pulp feeling of the book.
I doubt I would read anything else by this author. I’ll stick with more professional-sounding profiles-who-are-writers, like Hazelwood and Douglas.

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About crystalsea24

Jane Eyre meets Lisa Simpson meets Belle from Beauty and the Beast meets Velma from Scooby Doo. I read a lot of books.
This entry was posted in Books, crime novels, Non fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

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