The closest I’ve ever come to a serial killer was a weekend break in Madrid in 2003. We were in a city centre park – where some pickpocket nabbed the camera – when we came across playing cards located in strange places, like on a tree or by a pond. We didn’t know what they meant until we got home.
Anyway. Russia’s chessboard serial killer, Alexander Pichushkin, seems to have been caught out by his own lack of imagination. He wanted 64 victims, one for each square, and had managed 49 (or maybe 62).
But what’s the point of that? Surely a proper chessboard serial killer would murder just 32 people, one for each chess piece. And they’d keep the metaphor going by killing sixteen pawns; people he regards as ordinary and unremarkable, hardworking but dispensable. He’d take out a few bishops and some knights. The rooks, which represent siege towers, could be eccentric loners. The kings and queens could be royalty or, given the security surrounding them, celebrities.
And having done all that, a Hollywood blockbuster and immortality would be assured. Instead he’s been given the equally unimaginative label ‘Bitsevsky [Park] Maniac’. Boring!