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Cryptographic Crimes

The Use of Cryptography in Real and Fictional Crimes

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Marcel Danesi

This book examines the use of cryptography in both real and fictional crimes—a topic that is rarely broached. It discusses famous crimes, such as that of the Zodiac Killer, that revolve around cryptic messages and current uses of encryption that make solving cases harder and harder. It then draws parallels with the use of cryptography and secret writing in crime fiction, starting with Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle, claiming that there is an implicit principle in all such writing—namely, that if the cryptogram is deciphered then the crime itself reveals its structure. The general conclusion drawn is that solving crimes is akin to solving cryptograms, as the crime fiction writers suggested. Cases of cryptographic crime, from unsolved cold cases to the Mafia crimes, are discussed and mapped against this basic theoretical assumption. The book concludes by suggesting that by studying cryptographic crimes the key to understanding crime may be revealed.
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CRIMINAL HUMANITIES & FORENSIC SEMIOTICS

Michael Arntfield and Marcel Danesi General Editors

This series publishes monographs, anthologies, annotated literary editions, and comparative studies that critically engage the humanities as a locus for the study of criminal offending, criminal investigation, deviance, penology, and deterrence, as well as the epistemology of justice. We are especially interested in submissions with a strong interdisciplinary orientation and which lie at the crossroads of theory and practice. In other words, this series is foremost concerned with using artistic, literary, and multimedia texts, situations, and other products of the strictly non-investigative world as vehicles for exploring long-standing social and procedural issues of interest to both academia and the general public. By engaging a wide readership encompassing both scholars and practitioners, it is the intent of this series to breathe new life into the humanities and cultural studies, not to further alienate or obfuscate the scholarship done in these disciplines. For this reason, collaborations between authors representing academic institutions and those working in both private and public knowledge sectors, including government and specialized areas of law enforcement, are encouraged to collaborate with respect to this project.

The series will publish studies and anthologies that explore the connection between fictional writing, movies, music, traditional electronic media, the Internet, and other domains of popular culture and how they have influenced the perception of crime and criminality. The synergy that exists between real crime (reality) and imagined criminality as manifesting itself through representations in writing...

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