Show Less
Restricted access

Cryptographic Crimes

The Use of Cryptography in Real and Fictional Crimes


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.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access



Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Danesi, Marcel, author. Title: Cryptographic crimes: the use of cryptography in real and fictional crimes / Marcel Danesi. Description: New York: Peter Lang, 2017. Series: Criminal humanities & forensic semiotics; vol. 5 ISSN 2378-7732 (print) | ISSN 2378-7740 (online) Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2017013137 | ISBN 978-1-4331-3521-7 (hardcover: alk. paper) ISBN 978-1-4539-1917-0 (ebook pdf) | ISBN 978-1-4331-4392-2 (epub) ISBN 978-1-4331-4393-9 (mobi) Subjects: LSCH: Crime. | Crime in literature. | Cryptography. Classification: LCC HV6211 .D36 2017 | DDC 364.101/154 LC record available at DOI: 10.3726/978-1-4539-1917-0 Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at

© 2017 Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York 29 Broadway, 18th floor, New York, NY 10006 All rights reserved. Reprint or reproduction, even partially, in all forms such as microfilm, xerography, microfiche, microcard, and offset strictly prohibited.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.