But Radio Paris had a poor reputation as a source of information.
"Radio Paris lies, Radio Paris lies, Radio Paris is German" was a popular refrain sung to the tune of "La Cucaracha." Was Petiot really with the Resistance? Rumors inside the police force already circulated of the suspect's ties to clandestine patriotic organizations. Massu had also heard that a leader of a Resistance network had arrived at the crime scene, spoken with police officers, and then, after having been shown inside the building, left with their permission. Patrolmen Fillion and Teyssier still denied this allegation, but Massu planned to question the patrol officers himself.
As news of the discovered human remains spread, many people began to take detours to see the building on rue Le Sueur, a short walk from the Arc de Triomphe, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, and the Bois de Boulogne. Many women with handbaskets stopped by on the way to and from the daily ritual of standing in long lines at the bakery, the dairy, the butcher, the greengrocer, the tobacconist, and elsewhere, where they hoped to obtain expensive, often poor-quality rationed goods, if they were still available. When one of Petiot's neighbors, Madame Legouvé, went for a walk with her daughter that morning, she heard two people speak of the discovery. One gasped at the stench outside the physician's town house, claiming that "it smells like death," and the other replied that "death has no odor." Inside Legouvé's rue Le Sueur apartment building, discussion was more animated. One of her neighbors noted that the smell on the sidewalk was of no consequence compared to the courtyard: "There, it is truly, truly foul." Another neighbor, Monsieur Mentier, shrugged his shoulders, unwilling to speculate other than to state that the smell might well be explained by a crack in the main line of the sewer. The concierge hinted at something more sinister: "If I told you everything I know, it is likely that you would change your opinion."
Excerpted from Death in the City of Light by David King. Copyright © 2011 by David King. Excerpted by permission of Crown. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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