Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Charles Sobhraj


Chantal was a beautiful young Parisian woman living at home with her parents when she met Charles Sobhraj at a party. Instantly she was taken with the erudite, well-heeled young man who told her of his adventures in the Orient and Dakar and his fictitious wealthy family back in Saigon.

He spoke like a poet and courted young Chantal, despite her parents' initial disapproval of their daughter's new beau. There was no way her father, a traditional French Catholic, would allow his daughter to marry a Vietnamese half-breed, no matter how rich he said his family in Vietnam was. But Chantal was smitten and when Sobhraj was sent back to prison for an additional eight months, she stood by him, pledging chastity and telling her friends and co-workers that her boyfriend had been called up by the military.

Constitutionally unable to see fault with himself, Charles blamed the world for his latest run-in with the law. He did his time quietly, but in a series of letters to Felix, he denied responsibility for his actions.

By the time he was released eight months later, Sobhraj had built up a rather nice nest egg through a series of scams. The money made Chantal's parents a little more amenable to their daughter marrying Charles and they were wed in a simple civil ceremony attended by representatives of both families.

Shortly afterward, Chantal revealed she was pregnant. At the same time Charles decided to leave Europe and head to the Orient before the life of scams and cons he was living caught up with him. He was passing bad checks all over France and it was only a matter of time before the police realized that the common link to a rash of burglaries in wealthy homes was that Charles Sobhraj had recently been on the premises.

Asking Felix, who had re-entered his life, if he could borrow a car for a day or two, Charles loaded his worldly possessions and his pregnant wife and left France. The couple worked their way across Eastern Europe passing bad paper, robbing people who befriended them and leaving a trail of crimes and victims in their wake. By the time they reached Istanbul in Felix's stolen MG, authorities had been visiting their friends in Paris, looking for the couple. In Bombay, Chantal gave birth to a baby girl.


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