10 January 2013

André Blavier #3: Hyacinthe Dans

From February 1924 to November 1925 the bookseller Hyacinthe Dans in Liège was in charge of the (now, as it was his) scandalous rag Nanesse, which earned him two years' imprisonment for blackmail. Before his sentence could be carried out, though, he'd fled to Paris with his girlfriend Armande Comtat, whom he forced into prostitution to prevent himself from starving.
When she declared she was leaving him, he struck her on the head with a hammer and slit her throat, then killed his own mother (although why is unclear). Terrified of receiving the death sentence in France, he fled back to Liège, where he murdered a Jesuit priest whom he had known from Saint-Gervais college: but again, the reason is unclear, although insanity is a distinct possibility. He received life imprisonment, and became editor-in-chief of Journal des prisons belges under the pseudonym Tristan Chevreuse.

Georges Simenon had been familiar with Dans from the 1920s when they were regulars at the highly disreputable café La Cagne (which, for the record, means 'herring barrel'), and had worked on Dans's magazine. Simenon perpetuated Dans's name in his partly autobiographical first-person book Les Trois Crimes de mes amis (1928).
Links to my other posts on André Blavier's Les Fous littéraires are below:
André Blavier #1: Jean-Pierre Brisset, Paulin Gagne

André Blavier #2: Alexandre Ansaldi, G. Clair/Rupin Schkoff, Camarasa
André Blavier #4: Ernest de Garay, aka Karl-des-Monts
André Blavier #5: Francisque Tapon-Fougas
André Blavier #6: Jules Allix

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