On My Bookshelf

The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars by Paul Collins9684005-large

From Amazon.com: On Long Island, a farmer finds a duck pond turned red with blood. On the Lower East Side, two boys playing at a pier discover a floating human torso wrapped tightly in oilcloth. Blueberry pickers near Harlem stumble upon neatly severed limbs in an overgrown ditch. Clues to a horrifying crime are turning up all over New York, but the police are baffled: There are no witnesses, no motives, no suspects. The grisly finds that began on the afternoon of June 26, 1897, plunged detectives headlong into the era’s most baffling murder mystery. Seized upon by battling media moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, the case became a publicity circus. . . . What emerged was a sensational love triangle and an even more sensational trial: an unprecedented capital case hinging on circumstantial evidence around a victim whom the police couldn’t identify with certainty, and who the defense claimed wasn’t even dead.

This book was really two stories – one about the Guldenseppe murder and one about the “yellow journalism” of the time. I enjoyed it. The murder plot was is full of twists and turns and written at a good pace to keep you interested (even though the “who done it” wasn’t really in question for most of the book). The journalism war is as unbelievable as you might expect and makes for an entertaining read.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capoteimages

From Amazon.com: On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

I could have sworn that I read this book many years ago. But maybe not? Once I started reading it – for what I thought was a repeat performance – I realized that I just don’t remember a lot about the book. I know the story. . but I’m starting to doubt if I’ve ever turned its pages before.

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