Marguerite Duras, French writer (b. 1914) died on march 3, 1996
There was always something preposterous about her. When she was feeling well enough she surrounded herself with courtiers, laughed very loudly, told jokes, and had opinions about everything. She was an egomaniac and talked about herself constantly.
Almost three years after her cure she created a scandal by speculating recklessly about the most famous (and still unsolved) murder case in recent French history—the case of Little Grégory. This child, Grégory Villemin, had been killed and trussed and dumped into a culvert. He was just four and a half years old.
And then on July 17, 1985 (273 days after the murder), Marguerite Duras (once again drinking heavily) visited the town briefly, studied the house where Little Grégory had lived, and published a front-page article in Libération announcing to the world that she knew who had done it: the mother, Christine Villemin! Duras’s main evidence was that there was no garden around the little house. This proved that Christine was unhappy, that her husband was forcing sex on her, that she was just staring into space all day and sitting about without any occupation at home, dreaming up atrocious crimes. It was a modern tragedy, Duras claimed, in the tradition of Racine. Even though the mother, who had at first been arrested, had been freed because of the lack of evidence and had specifically refused to speak to her, Duras had no doubts that Christine had done it. She was careful to point out that she didn’t judge the young woman. Any woman was capable of this sort of violence, Duras assured her readers, especially if she was being subjected by her husband to bad sex.