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3\. False Hypotheses
- Another entirely false notion is that "Murder will out." As to the real fact
- of this matter, Arthur C. Train, in his admirable work, "Courts, Criminals and
- the Camorra," asserts that the prisoners tried for murder are only a mere
- fraction of those who commit the crime.
- In the stories of Luther Trant, we are informed "that for ninety-three out of
- every one hundred homicides no one is ever punished," and in "The Scales of
- Justice," George L. Knapp tells us, "If you'd cut out the proverbs and stick
- to the evidence, you'd find out that about one murder in six comes to light
- enough to get the murderer convicted." Then too, Samuel N. Gardenhire asserts
- that "thousands of murders are never found out. Given a doctor, a lack of
- motive and a good chance, and detection may be laughed at."
- But though the authors quoted understand this, scores of other Detective Story
- writers persist in standing by the old adage.
- Again the beliefs that "a murderer is involuntarily drawn back to the scene of
- his crime," and that "a murderer can't help talking of his crime to somebody,"
- are the basis of many false situations. These hypotheses may be used as
- working arguments, if desired, but should not be quoted as universal laws.
- Another false notion inherent in the average citizen is, that a bystander is
- forbidden by law to touch the body of a murdered man before the arrival of the
- coroner. There never was any such law, is not now, and probably never will be.
- The citizen who is of an inquiring turn of mind has a perfect right to examine
- dead bodies he runs across in the course of his travels, to move the remains
- and even search the pockets of the deceased, provided, of course, that his
- motives are honest. That is all that is necessary.