True Crime

A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight: (A True Crime Fact Account of the Lizzie Borden Ax Murders) by Victoria Lincoln - Book Review

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$16.99
ISBN: 9781949763089
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Published: Seraphim Press - September 23rd, 2018

No one will ever know exactly what happened on a blisteringly hot August morning in 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts when Andrew Borden, a prominent local businessman, and his wife were hacked to death in their modest home on Second Street. Victoria Lincoln had a better pedigree than most for making an informed speculation. She knew the prime suspect. Her family was part of the upper crust in Fall River that Lizzie wanted so desperately to join. Local society breathed a sigh of relief after her trial and acquittal, but they never forgave Lizzie Borden for shaming them. Lincoln believes that the sharply drawn layers of Fall River's social strata played a major role in precipitating an event that only assumed lethal proportions after a psychotic episode during which Lizzie succumbed to temporary madness. By far the best researched, most intelligently constructed book on this fascinating subject. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


Shallow Graves: The Hunt for the New Bedford Highway Serial Killer by Maureen Boyle - Book Review

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$19.95
ISBN: 9781512600742
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Published: ForeEdge - September 5th, 2017

New Bedford, Massachusetts was once a booming coastal city, but by 1988 it had fallen into a steep decline. Police authorities, already submerged by a tidal wave of drug related crime, were faced with an even greater challenge when the badly decomposed bodies of missing women began being discovered along local highways. Many of the dead were eventually identified as drug-addicted women who had turned to prostitution to support their habit, drawing them into contact with some of the most unsavory characters in the area. Catching the one who was a killer became an even more daunting task. This is a meticulously researched chronicle that delves into the sad and devastated lives of the victims and their families while honoring the dedicated men and women who were determined to bring a serial murderer to justice. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


The Last Stone: A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation by Mark Bowden - Book Review

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$27.00
ISBN: 9780802147301
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Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - April 2nd, 2019

The disappearance of two young girls from a Maryland mall had been a cold case for decades. When the police tracked down one last lead, they were completely unprepared for the web of deceit that was about to ensnare them. Bowden was a cub reporter when Katherine and Sheila Lyon vanished in 1975. He went on to become the best-selling author of Black Hawk Down and Hue, among others. The Last Stone relies a lot on transcripts between the police and their suspect, a child molester named Lloyd Welch. As such, the dodge-and-weave of police interrogation becomes as enthralling as watching Bjorn Borg face up to John McEnroe. The level of mythology and deception can become vertiginous at times, but Bowden delivers a white-knuckle true crime story of appalling malfeasance. ~ Reviewed by Charles Bottomley


The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson - Book Review

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$28.00
ISBN: 9781501168376
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Published: Simon & Schuster - March 12th, 2019

As a newcomer to the Lizzie Borden story, I had no idea a) that this happened in the 19th century b) that the ensuing courtroom spectacle was the Gilded Age equivalent of the O.J. Trial or c) the unexpected verdict on the matter of whether Borden did away with her father and stepmother with an axe. Robertson is a student of the case and has pored through acres of reportage to provide what may be the definitive work on the murder and trial. As well as the unknowable Lizzie Borden herself, the cast of characters includes a former governor-turned-defense lawyer, a dashing prosecutor and a press pack of yellow journalists. In assembling her evidence, Robertson gives an insight into a society where immigrants were despised, femininity of a certain class had to be protected at all costs, fake news was a thing and many could not countenance the evidence that was directly in front of their face. ~ Reviewed by Charles Bottomley


The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold - Book Review

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$27.00
ISBN: 9781328663818
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Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - April 9th, 2019

They were more than just victims. They had names -- Mary Ann, Annie, Elisabeth, Catherine, Mary Jane. They were little girls once with the same dreams and hopes that all children share. They aspired to escape from the mean, dreary lives that they inherited. Four of them married and three became mothers. Whether it was through their own weaknesses and failings or through cruel vagaries of fate, they ended up on the dark streets of the Whitechapel District of London in the fall of 1888. There, they encountered the person who would consign their names to history. It was a terrible way to be remembered. This is a literate, exhaustively researched, and compassionate study of the five canonical victims of Jack the Ripper. It brings into sharp relief the pitiless degradation that the poor were forced to endure and is as much an indictment of a misogynistic and cruelly unjust society as it is the sad chronicle of five lost lives. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep - Book Review

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$26.95
ISBN: 9781101947869
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Published: Knopf - May 7th, 2019

There were very few things in Alabama during the 1970s that involved more risk than being related to Reverend Willie Maxwell. One by one, members of his family turned up dead. They all had one thing in common besides a close relationship to the Reverend. Unbeknownst to the recently deceased, he had taken out a multitude of life insurance policies on them and, with the help of an astute lawyer named Tom Radney, he collected tens of thousands of dollars from infuriated insurance companies and fended off investigations by frustrated state officials. When Willie himself was summarily dispatched at the funeral of his stepdaughter, Mr. Radney assumed the task of defending the man who shot him in front of 300 people. This would be a mesmerizing true crime story on its own merit, but the Maxwell case became the focus of years of research by Harper Lee, who hoped to repeat the success that her mentor, Truman Capote, had enjoyed with In Cold Blood. This is bound to be one of the year's best nonfiction books. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves


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