It was the perfect murder, really. Illicit passions: two beautiful women-of-the-night feuding over a dashing young rake, a masked ball, casual taunts, thwarted assaults, escalating threats. Heinous crime: the lover's borrowed gun, midnight bordello visit, fighting words, a gun shot, a maid's scream, a young woman's tragic death. Cruel punishment: suicidal remorse (by some accounts), humiliating public trial, twenty lost years (the maximum sentence for a woman) in Mexico City's squalid Belem jail. The Tarasquillo Street murder had it all!
And so it happened that, in an era enamored of all things French, Mexico City had its very own cause célèbre. A scant twelve years earlier, professional francophile and amateur criminologist Rafael Zayas de Enríquez had devoted an entire volume of his Fisiología del crimen to notorious foreign criminals like Alfonse Dupont, the hunchbacked wife-killer, and Charles Guiteau, the deranged assassin of President Garfield. Now, Mexico too could claim a prominent place in the international annals of infamous crime.