Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Crime Passionnel

Promotion Day

Orleans from the air
Orleans from the air

On August 11, 1951, Dr. Chevallier was sworn in to his ministry post in Paris. The next day, he had an appointment for his first public appearance, at a country fair not far from Orleans.

He asked his chauffeur to stop in Orleans so he could change clothes.

Yvonne followed Pierre upstairs to his dressing room. The couple had not been together in some days, and Yvonne used the opportunity to once again plead her case to save their marriage.

First she threatened, saying she would send the boys to boarding school and deny him visits.

Then she pleaded, saying she could not possibly love another man, and she could not fathom her Pierre in the arms of another woman. She said she could changethat she would work hard to make herself a more worthy companion.

Finally, as Pierre disrobed, Yvonne fell to her knees and begged him to love her.

Chevallier was brutally dismissive of her entreaty.  For the first time, he brought up the possibility of divorce, explaining through gritted teeth that he no longer loved Yvonne and would be happier with Jeanne Perreau.

Yvonne fled from the room, went to an armoire and fished out her Mab pistol. She returned to confront Pierre, threatening suicide.

Chevallier again was pitiless.

He taunted Yvonne, saying she should go ahead and kill herselfbut to wait until he had left the room.

Downstairs, a maid was watching after the two boys, by then 10 and 6. The maid eavesdropped as the couple argued. Suddenly, she and the boys were startled by a gunshot--then a second, a third, and a fourth.

Mathieu Chevallier ran upstairs and saw his father slumped on the floor. Yvonne calmly took the boy by the hand and led him back downstairs, asking the maid to look after him.

The maid asked, "What is happening?"

Yvonne Chevallier replied, "Nothing at all."

She returned upstairs. After an interval, the maid heard a fifth and final shot. She huddled with the Chevallier boys, not daring to investigate.

A few minutes later, the phone jangled at Orleans police headquarters. Yvonne Chevallier told a police commander, "My husband needs you urgently."

She was waiting in a black mourning dress when the gendarmes arrived.

Mrs. Chevallier had used her new pistol efficiently. The first four shots hit him in the chest, forearm, thigh and chin. The fifth hit him in the back as he lay dying.

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