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For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz Age Chicago

HarperCollins | April 28, 2009 | Paperback | English

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It was a crime that shocked the nation: the brutal murder in Chicago in 1924 of a child by two wealthy college students who killed solely for the thrill of the experience. Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were intellectuals—too smart, they believed, for the police to catch them. When they were apprehended, state's attorney Robert Crowe was certain that no defense could save the ruthless killers from the gallows. But the families of the confessed murderers hired Clarence Darrow, entrusting the lives of their sons to the most famous lawyer in America in what would be one of the most sensational criminal trials in the history of American justice.

Set against the backdrop of the 1920s—a time of prosperity, self-indulgence, and hedonistic excess in a lawless city on the brink of anarchy—For the Thrill of It draws the reader into a world of speakeasies and flappers, of gangsters and gin parties, with a spellbinding narrative of Jazz Age murder and mystery.

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The Hotel On Place Vendome: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris

HarperCollins | February 24, 2015 | Paperback | English

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Set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of World War II, The Hôtel on Place Vendôme is the captivating history of Paris’s world-famous Hôtel Ritz—a breathtaking tale of glamour, opulence, and celebrity; dangerous liaisons, espionage, and resistance—from Tilar J. Manzeo, the New York Times bestselling author of The Widow Clicquot and The Secret of Chanel No. 5

When France fell to the Germans in June 1940, the legendary Hôtel Ritz on the Place Vendôme—an icon of Paris frequented by film stars and celebrity writers, American heiresses and risqué flappers, playboys, and princes—was the only luxury hotel of its kind allowed in the occupied city by order of Adolf Hitler.

Tilar J. Mazzeo traces the history of this cultural landmark from its opening in fin de siècle Paris. At its center, The Hotel on Place Vendôme is an extraordinary chronicle of life at the Ritz during wartime, when the Hôtel was simultaneously headquarters to the highest-ranking German officers, such as Reichsmarshal Hermann Göring, and home to exclusive patrons, including Coco Chanel. Mazzeo takes us into the grand palace’s suites, bars, dining rooms, and wine cellars, revealing a hotbed of illicit affairs and deadly intrigue, as well as stunning acts of defiance and treachery.

Rich in detail, illustrated with black-and-white photos, The Hotel on Place Vendôme is a remarkable look at this extraordinary crucible where the future of post-war France—and all of post-war Europe—was transformed. 

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The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder And The Birth Of Forensic Medicine In Jazz Age New York

Penguin Publishing Group | January 25, 2011 | Paperback | English

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The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder And The Birth Of Forensic Medicine In Jazz Age New York is rated 4 out of 5 by 3.
Equal parts true crime, twentieth-century history, and science thriller, The Poisoner's Handbook is "a vicious, page-turning story that reads more like Raymond Chandler than Madame Curie"—The New York Observer

A fascinating Jazz Age tale of chemistry and detection, poison and murder, The Poisoner's Handbook is a page-turning account of a forgotten era. In early twentieth-century New York, poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime. Science had no place in the Tammany Hall-controlled coroner's office, and corruption ran rampant. However, with the appointment of chief medical examiner Charles Norris in 1918, the poison game changed forever. Together with toxicologist Alexander Gettler, the duo set the justice system on fire with their trailblazing scientific detective work, triumphing over seemingly unbeatable odds to become the pioneers of forensic chemistry and the gatekeepers of justice.

In 2014, PBS's AMERICAN EXPERIENCE released a film based on The Poisoner's Handbook.

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Midnight In Peking: How The Murder Of A Young Englishwoman Haunted The Last Days Of Old China

Penguin Publishing Group | April 30, 2013 | Paperback | English

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Midnight In Peking: How The Murder Of A Young Englishwoman Haunted The Last Days Of Old China is rated 4 out of 5 by 3.
Winner of the both the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime and the CWA Non-Fiction Dagger from the author of City of Devils

Chronicling an incredible unsolved murder, Midnight in Peking captures the aftermath of the brutal killing of a British schoolgirl in January 1937. The mutilated body of Pamela Werner was found at the base of the Fox Tower, which, according to local superstition, is home to the maliciously seductive fox spirits. As British detective Dennis and Chinese detective Han investigate, the mystery only deepens and, in a city on the verge of invasion, rumor and superstition run rampant. Based on seven years of research by historian and China expert Paul French, this true-crime thriller presents readers with a rare and unique portrait of the last days of colonial Peking.

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Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris

Crown | June 5, 2012 | Paperback | English

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Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris is rated 4 out of 5 by 3.
The gripping, true story of a brutal serial killer who unleashed his own reign of terror in Nazi-Occupied Paris.

As decapitated heads and dismembered body parts surfaced in the Seine, Commissaire Georges-Victor Massu, head of the Brigade Criminelle, was tasked with tracking down the elusive murderer in a twilight world of Gestapo, gangsters, resistance fighters, pimps, prostitutes, spies, and other shadowy figures of the Parisian underworld. But while trying to solve the many mysteries of the case, Massu would unravel a plot of unspeakable deviousness.
 
The main suspect, Dr. Marcel Petiot, was a handsome, charming physician with remarkable charisma. He was the “People’s Doctor,” known for his many acts of kindness and generosity, not least in providing free medical care for the poor. Petiot, however, would soon be charged with twenty-seven murders, though authorities suspected the total was considerably higher, perhaps even as many as 150.

Petiot's trial quickly became a circus. Attempting to try all twenty-seven cases at once, the prosecution stumbled in its marathon cross-examinations, and Petiot, enjoying the spotlight, responded with astonishing ease. Soon, despite a team of prosecuting attorneys, dozens of witnesses, and over one ton of evidence, Petiot’s brilliance and wit threatened to win the day.

Drawing extensively on many new sources, including the massive, classified French police file on Dr. Petiot, Death in the City of Light is a brilliant evocation of Nazi-Occupied Paris and a harrowing exploration of murder, betrayal, and evil of staggering proportions.

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Killers Of The Flower Moon: The Osage Murders And The Birth Of The Fbi

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | April 3, 2018 | Paperback | English

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Killers Of The Flower Moon: The Osage Murders And The Birth Of The Fbi is rated 4.7857 out of 5 by 14.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER   -  NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST 

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history


            In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
            Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. One of her relatives was shot. Another was poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.
            As the death toll rose, the newly created FBI took up the case, and the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including a Native American agent who infiltrated the region, and together with the Osage began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

New York Times Notable Book

Named a best book of the year by Amazon, Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, GQ, Time, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly, Time Magazine, NPR, Vogue, Smithsonian, Cosmopolitan, Seattle Times, Bloomberg, Lit Hub, and Slate
Killers of the Flower Moon deserves all the accolades being bestowed upon it and then some. This is a deeply engaging, page-turning story that draws you in and keeps you in its grip from the first moment. This is the story of a few members of the Osage Nation –who dominated huge swaths of the American mid-west. In the 1870s, the Osage were driven from their lands in Kansas and forced to accept a parcel of land between Oklahoma and Texas that was presumed, by the U.S. government, to be worthless. It just so happened this dusty un-arable seeming land was sitting on some of the most lucrative oil deposits in all of North America. By the early part of the 20th century, the Osage became the wealthiest people per capita in America only to find themselves the targets for some of the most vile exploitation and violence imaginable, including a spree of murders that came to be known as The Osage Reign of Terror. Two strands intertwine in Killers of the Flower Moon as it turns out the Osage murders coincided with founding of the modern-day FBI. Upon getting wind of these murders, a very ambitious young J. Edgar Hoover challenges a few of his young deputies to investigate. A few honest and deeply committed deputies work to peel back the layers hiding the mystery of the murders and as they do, we meet some fascinating characters and are drawn deeply into Osage story and lore. Grann is so astute in his storytelling, this book reads both as compelling crime fiction and hard-hitting expose on the deep intersection between racism and capitalism, the residue of which is still deeply felt today. This is one of those rare books that can educate and entertain simultaneously, a deeply satisfying book that you remember long after the last page is done.

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The Girl On The Velvet Swing: Sex, Murder, And Madness At The Dawn Of The Twentieth Century

Little, Brown And Company | February 19, 2019 | Paperback | English

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The Girl On The Velvet Swing: Sex, Murder, And Madness At The Dawn Of The Twentieth Century is rated 4 out of 5 by 1.
From New York Times bestselling author Simon Baatz, the first comprehensive account of the murder that shocked the world.

In 1901 Evelyn Nesbit, a chorus girl in the musical Florodora, dined alone with the architect Stanford White in his townhouse on 24th Street in New York. Nesbit, just sixteen years old, had recently moved to the city. White was forty-seven and a principal in the prominent architectural firm McKim, Mead & White. As the foremost architect of his day, he was a celebrity, responsible for designing countless landmark buildings in Manhattan. That evening, after drinking champagne, Nesbit lost consciousness and awoke to find herself naked in bed with White. Telltale spots of blood on the bed sheets told her that White had raped her.

She told no one about the rape until, several years later, she confided in Harry Thaw, the millionaire playboy who would later become her husband. Thaw, thirsting for revenge, shot and killed White in 1906 before hundreds of theatergoers during a performance in Madison Square Garden, a building that White had designed.

The trial was a sensation that gripped the nation. Most Americans agreed with Thaw that he had been justified in killing White, but the district attorney expected to send him to the electric chair. Evelyn Nesbit's testimony was so explicit and shocking that Theodore Roosevelt himself called on the newspapers not to print it verbatim. The murder of White cast a long shadow: Harry Thaw later attempted suicide, and Evelyn Nesbit struggled for many years to escape an addiction to cocaine. The Girl on the Velvet Swing, a tale of glamour, excess, and danger, is an immersive, fascinating look at an America dominated by men of outsize fortunes and by the women who were their victims.

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The Devil In The White City: Murder, Magic, And Madness At The Fair That Changed America

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | February 10, 2004 | Paperback | English

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The Devil In The White City: Murder, Magic, And Madness At The Fair That Changed America is rated 4.1642 out of 5 by 67.

This New York Times bestseller intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. 

Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.

The Devil in the White City draws the reader into a time of magic and majesty, made all the more appealing by a supporting cast of real-life characters, including Buffalo Bill, Theodore Dreiser, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, and others. Erik Larson’s gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.

Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

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City Of Light, City Of Poison: Murder, Magic, And The First Police Chief Of Paris

WW Norton | April 10, 2018 | Paperback | English

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"An artful reconstruction of seventeenth-century Paris with riveting storytelling." —The New Yorker

In the late 1600s, Louis XIV assigns Nicolas de la Reynie to bring order to Paris after the brutal deaths of two magistrates. Reynie, pragmatic and fearless, discovers a network of witches, poisoners, and priests whose reach extends all the way to the king’s court at Versailles. Based on court transcripts and Reynie’s compulsive note-taking, Holly Tucker’s engrossing true-crime narrative makes the characters breathe on the page as she follows the police chief into the dark labyrinths of crime-ridden Paris, the halls of royal palaces, secret courtrooms, and torture chambers.

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Conan Doyle For The Defense: How Sherlock Holmes's Creator Turned Real-life Detective And Freed A…

Random House Publishing Group | June 25, 2019 | Paperback | English

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“A wonderfully vivid portrait of the man behind Sherlock Holmes . . . Like all the best historical true crime books, it’s about so much more than crime.”—Tana French, author of In the Woods
 
A sensational Edwardian murder. A scandalous wrongful conviction. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to the rescue—a true story.    

After a wealthy woman was brutally murdered in her Glasgow home in 1908, the police found a convenient suspect in Oscar Slater, an immigrant Jewish cardsharp. Though he was known to be innocent, Slater was tried, convicted, and consigned to life at hard labor. Outraged by this injustice, Arthur Conan Doyle, already world renowned as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, used the methods of his most famous character to reinvestigate the case, ultimately winning Slater’s freedom.

With “an eye for the telling detail, a forensic sense of evidence and a relish for research” (The Wall Street Journal), Margalit Fox immerses readers in the science of Edwardian crime detection and illuminates a watershed moment in its history, when reflexive prejudice began to be replaced by reason and the scientific method.

Praise for Conan Doyle for the Defense

“Artful and compelling . . . [Fox’s] narrative momentum never flags. . . . Conan Doyle for the Defense will captivate almost any reader while being pure catnip for the devotee of true-crime writing.”The Washington Post

“Developed with brio . . . [Fox] is excellent in linking the 19th-century creation of policing and detection with the development of both detective fiction and the science of forensics—ballistics, fingerprints, toxicology and serology—as well as the quasi science of ‘criminal anthropology.’”—The New York Times Book Review

“[Fox] has an eye for the telling detail, a forensic sense of evidence and a relish for research.”The Wall Street Journal

“Gripping . . . The book works on two levels, much like a good Holmes case. First, it is a fluid story of a crime. . . . Second, and more pertinently, it is a deeper story of how prejudice against a class of people, the covering up of sloppy police work and a poisonous political atmosphere can doom an innocent. We should all heed Holmes’s salutary lesson: rationally follow the facts to find the truth.”Time

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The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, And The Invention Of Murder

Penguin Publishing Group | December 4, 2007 | Paperback | English

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On July 28, 1841, the body of Mary Rogers, a twenty-year-old cigar girl, was found floating in the Hudson-and New York's unregulated police force proved incapable of solving the crime. One year later, a struggling writer named Edgar Allan Poe decided to take on the case-and sent his fictional detective, C. Auguste Dupin, to solve the baffling murder of Mary Rogers in "The Mystery of Marie Rogt."

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The Suspicions Of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder And The Undoing Of A Great Victorian Detective

Bloomsbury USA | February 24, 2009 | Paperback | English

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The Suspicions Of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder And The Undoing Of A Great Victorian Detective is rated 4.4286 out of 5 by 7.

In June of 1860 three-year-old Saville Kent was found at the bottom of an outdoor privy with his throat slit. The crime horrified all England and led to a national obsession with detection, ironically destroying, in the process, the career of perhaps the greatest detective in the land.

At the time, the detective was a relatively new invention; there were only eight detectives in all of England and rarely were they called out of London, but this crime was so shocking, as Kate Summerscale relates in her scintillating new book, that Scotland Yard sent its best man to investigate, Inspector Jonathan Whicher.

Whicher quickly believed the unbelievable-that someone within the family was responsible for the murder of young Saville Kent. Without sufficient evidence or a confession, though, his case was circumstantial and he returned to London a broken man. Though he would be vindicated five years later, the real legacy of Jonathan Whicher lives on in fiction: the tough, quirky, knowing, and all-seeing detective that we know and love today...from the cryptic Sgt. Cuff in Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone to Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is a provocative work of nonfiction that reads like a Victorian thriller, and in it kate Summerscale has fashioned a brilliant, multilayered narrative that is as cleverly constructed as it is beautifully written.

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The Bastard of Fort Stikine: The Hudson's Bay Company and the Murder of John McLoughlin Jr.

Goose Lane Editions | May 5, 2015 | Paperback | English

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The Bastard of Fort Stikine: The Hudson's Bay Company and the Murder of John McLoughlin Jr. is rated 4 out of 5 by 1.

Winner, Canadian Authors Award for Canadian History, Jeanne Clarke Memorial Local History Award, and Prince Edward Island Book Award for Non-Fiction

Is it possible to reach back in time and solve an unsolved murder, more than 170 years after it was committed?

Just after midnight on April 21, 1842, John McLoughlin, Jr. — the chief trader for the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Stikine, in the northwest corner of the territory that would later become British Columbia — was shot to death by his own men. They claimed it was an act of self-defence, their only means of stopping the violent rampage of their drunk and abusive leader. Sir George Simpson, the HBC's Overseas Governor, took the men of Stikine at their word, and the Company closed the book on the matter. The case never saw the inside of a courtroom, and no one was ever charged or punished for the crime. To this day, the killing remains the Honourable Company's dirtiest unaired laundry and one of the darkest pages in the annals of our nation's history. Now, exhaustive archival research and modern forensic science — including ballistics, virtual autopsy, and crime scene reconstruction — unlock the mystery of what really happened the night McLoughlin died.

Using her formidable talents as a writer, researcher, and forensic scientist, Debra Komar weaves a tale that could almost be fiction, with larger-than-life characters and dramatic tension. In telling the story of John McLoughlin, Jr., Komar also tells the story of Canada's north and its connection to the Hudson's Bay Company.

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Black River Road: An Unthinkable Crime, an Unlikely Suspect, and the Question of Character

Goose Lane Editions | September 6, 2016 | Paperback | English

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Black River Road: An Unthinkable Crime, an Unlikely Suspect, and the Question of Character is rated 5 out of 5 by 2.

Shortlisted, Arthur Ellis Best Non-Fiction Crime Book Award

In 1869, in the woods just outside of the bustling port city of Saint John, a group of teenaged berry pickers discovered several badly decomposed bodies. The authorities suspected foul play, but the identities of the victims were as mysterious as that of the perpetrator. From the twists and turns of a coroner's inquest, an unlikely suspect emerged to stand trial for murder: John Munroe, a renowned architect, well-heeled family man, and pillar of the community.

Munroe was arguably the first in Canada's fledgling judicial system to actively defend himself. His lawyer's strategy was as simple as it was revolutionary: Munroe's wealth, education, and exemplary character made him incapable of murder. The press and Saint John's elite vocally supported Munroe, sparking a debate about character and murder that continues to this day. In re-examining a precedent-setting historical crime with fresh eyes, Komar addresses questions that still echo through the halls of justice more than a century later: is everyone capable of murder, and should character be treated as evidence in homicide trials?

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The Five: The Untold Lives Of The Women Killed By Jack The Ripper

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | April 9, 2019 | Hardcover | English

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The Five: The Untold Lives Of The Women Killed By Jack The Ripper is rated 5 out of 5 by 1.
Winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction

Five devastating human stories and a dark and moving portrait of Victorian London-the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper.

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden, and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. The person responsible was never identified, but the character created by the press to fill that gap has become far more famous than any of these five women.

For more than a century, newspapers have been keen to tell us that the Ripper" preyed on prostitutes. Not only is this untrue, as historian Hallie Rubenhold has discovered, it has prevented the real stories of these fascinating women from being told. Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, revealing a world not just of Dickens and Queen Victoria, but of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time-but their greatest misfortune was to be born a woman."

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Thunderstruck

Crown | September 25, 2007 | Paperback | English

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Thunderstruck is rated 3.9286 out of 5 by 14.

A true story of love, murder, and the end of the world’s “great hush.”

In Thunderstruck, Erik Larson tells the interwoven stories of two men—Hawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communication—whose lives intersect during one of the greatest criminal chases of all time.

Set in Edwardian London and on the stormy coasts of Cornwall, Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia, Thunderstruck evokes the dynamism of those years when great shipping companies competed to build the biggest, fastest ocean liners; scientific advances dazzled the public with visions of a world transformed; and the rich outdid one another with ostentatious displays of wealth. Against this background, Marconi races against incredible odds and relentless skepticism to perfect his invention: the wireless, a prime catalyst for the emergence of the world we know today. Meanwhile, Crippen, “the kindest of men,” nearly commits the perfect murder.

With his unparalleled narrative skills, Erik Larson guides us through a relentlessly suspenseful chase over the waters of the North Atlantic. Along the way, he tells of a sad and tragic love affair that was described on the front pages of newspapers around the world, a chief inspector who found himself strangely sympathetic to the killer and his lover, and a driven and compelling inventor who transformed the way we communicate.

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Depraved: The Definitive True Story of H.H. Holmes, Whose Grotesque Crimes Shattered Turn-of-the…

Gallery Books | August 4, 2008 | Paperback | English

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The heinous bloodlust of Dr. H.H. Holmes is notorious -- but only Harold Schechter's Depraved tells the complete story of the killer whose evil acts of torture and murder flourished within miles of the Chicago World's Fair. "Destined to be a true crime classic" (Flint Journal, MI), this authoritative account chronicles the methods and madness of a monster who slipped easily into a bright, affluent Midwestern suburb, where no one suspected the dapper, charming Holmes -- who alternately posed as doctor, druggist, and inventor to snare his prey -- was the architect of a labyrinthine "Castle of Horrors." Holmes admitted to twenty-seven murders by the time his madhouse of trapdoors, asphyxiation devices, body chutes, and acid vats was exposed. The seminal profile of a homegrown madman in the era of Jack the Ripper, Depraved is also a mesmerizing tale of true detection long before the age of technological wizardry.

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The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master, and the Trial That Shocked a Country

HarperCollins | March 25, 2014 | Paperback | English

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The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master, and the Trial That Shocked a Country is rated 3.7143 out of 5 by 7.

Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Non-Fiction
Winner of the Toronto Book Award
Winner of the CAA Lela Common Award for Canadian History
Winner of the Heritage Toronto Book Award

A Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year
Finalist for the RBC Taylor Prize, the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the Ottawa Book Award, the Libris Award, the OLA Evergreen Award

A scandalous crime, a sensational trial, a surprise verdict—the true story of Carrie Davies, the maid who shot a Massey

In February 1915, a member of one of Canada’s wealthiest families was shot and killed on the front porch of his home in Toronto as he was returning from work. Carrie Davies, an 18-year-old domestic servant, quickly confessed. But who was the victim here? Charles “Bert” Massey, a scion of a famous family, or the frightened, perhaps mentally unstable Carrie, a penniless British immigrant? When the brilliant lawyer Hartley Dewart, QC, took on her case, his grudge against the powerful Masseys would fuel a dramatic trial that pitted the old order against the new, wealth and privilege against virtue and honest hard work. Set against a backdrop of the Great War in Europe and the changing faceof a nation, this sensational crime is brought to vivid life for the first time.

As in her previous bestselling book, Gold Diggers—adapted into the Discovery Television miniseries Klondike—multi-award-winning historian and biographer Charlotte Gray has created a captivating narrative rich in detail and brimming with larger-than-life personalities, as she shines alight on a central moment in our past.

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The Monster Of Florence

Grand Central Publishing | April 23, 2013 | Paperback | English

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In the nonfiction tradition of John Berendt and Erik Larson, the author of the #1 NYT bestseller The Lost City of the Monkey God presents a gripping account of crime and punishment in the lush hills surrounding Florence as he seeks to uncover one of the most infamous figures in Italian history.

In 2000, Douglas Preston fulfilled a dream to move his family to Italy. Then he discovered that the olive grove in front of their 14th century farmhouse had been the scene of the most infamous double-murders in Italian history, committed by a serial killer known as the Monster of Florence. <_st13a_place _w3a_st="on">Preston, intrigued, meets Italian investigative journalist Mario Spezi to learn more.

This is the true story of their search for--and identification of--the man they believe committed the crimes, and their chilling interview with him. And then, in a strange twist of fate, <_st13a_place _w3a_st="on">Preston and Spezi themselves become targets of the police investigation. <_st13a_place _w3a_st="on">Preston has his phone tapped, is interrogated, and told to leave the country. Spezi fares worse: he is thrown into <_st13a_place _w3a_st="on"><_st13a_country-region _w3a_st="on">Italy's grim Capanne prison, accused of being the Monster of Florence himself.

Like one of Preston's thrillers, The Monster of Florence, tells a remarkable and harrowing story involving murder, mutilation, and suicide-and at the center of it, Preston and Spezi, caught in a bizarre prosecutorial vendetta.

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The Court of Better Fiction: Three Trials, Two Executions, and Arctic Sovereignty

Dundurn | March 16, 2019 | Paperback | English

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2020 Arthur Ellis Award, Best Nonfiction Crime Book - Shortlisted
In its rush to establish dominion over the North, Canada executed two innocent Inuit.

In 1921, the RCMP arrested two Inuit males suspected of killing their uncle. While in custody, one of the accused allegedly killed a police officer and a Hudson's Bay Company trader.

The Canadian government hastily established an unprecedented court in the Arctic, but the trial quickly became a master class in judicial error. The verdicts were decided in Ottawa weeks before the court convened. Authorities were so certain of convictions, the executioner and gallows were sent north before the trial began. In order to win, the Crown broke many of its own laws.

The precedent established Canada's legal relationship with the Inuit, who would spend the next seventy-seven years fighting to regain their autonomy and Indigenous rule of law.

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Hell's Princess: The Mystery Of Belle Gunness, Butcher Of Men

Amazon Publishing | April 1, 2018 | Hardcover | English

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Hell's Princess: The Mystery Of Belle Gunness, Butcher Of Men is rated 5 out of 5 by 1.

“A deeply researched and morbidly fascinating chronicle of one of America’s most notorious female killers.” —The New York Times Book Review

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

In the pantheon of serial killers, Belle Gunness stands alone. She was the rarest of female psychopaths, a woman who engaged in wholesale slaughter, partly out of greed but mostly for the sheer joy of it. Between 1902 and 1908, she lured a succession of unsuspecting victims to her Indiana “murder farm.” Some were hired hands. Others were well-to-do bachelors. All of them vanished without a trace. When their bodies were dug up, they hadn’t merely been poisoned, like victims of other female killers. They’d been butchered.

Hell’s Princess is a riveting account of one of the most sensational killing sprees in the annals of American crime: the shocking series of murders committed by the woman who came to be known as Lady Bluebeard. The only definitive book on this notorious case and the first to reveal previously unknown information about its subject, Harold Schechter’s gripping, suspenseful narrative has all the elements of a classic mystery—and all the gruesome twists of a nightmare.

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Who Killed Tom Thomson?: The Truth About The Murder Of One Of The 20th Century's Most Famous Artists

Skyhorse | August 21, 2018 | Hardcover | English

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Who Killed Tom Thomson?: The Truth About The Murder Of One Of The 20th Century's Most Famous Artists is rated 5 out of 5 by 2.
Tom Thomson was Canada's Vincent van Gogh. He painted for a period of five years before meeting his untimely death in a remote wilderness lake in July 1917. He was buried in an unofficial grave close to the lake where his body was found. About eight hours after he was buried, the coroner arrived but never examined the body and ruled his death accidental due to drowning. A day and a half later, Thomson's family hired an undertaker to exhume the body and move it to the family plot about 100 miles away. This undertaker refused all help, and only worked at night.

In 1956, John Little's father and three other men, influenced by the story of an old park ranger who never believed Thomson's body was moved by the undertaker, dug up what was supposed to be the original, empty grave. To their surprise, the grave still contained a body, and the skull revealed a head wound that matched the same location noted by the men who pulled his corpse from the water in 1917. The finding sent shockwaves across the nation and began a mystery that continues to this day.

In Who Killed Tom Thomson? John Little continues the sixty-year relationship his family has had with Tom Thomson and his fate by teaming up with two high-ranking Ontario provincial police homicide detectives. For the first time, they provide a forensic scientific opinion as to how Thomson met his death, and where his body is buried. Little draws upon his father's research, plus recently released archival material, as well as his own thirty-year investigation. He and his colleagues prove that Thomson was murdered, and set forth two persons of interest who may have killed Tom Thomson.

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The Ballad of Jacob Peck

Goose Lane Editions | March 26, 2013 | Paperback | English

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Shortlisted, Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing

On a frigid February evening in 1805, Amos Babcock brutally murdered Mercy Hall. Believing that he was being instructed by God, Babcock stabbed and disembowelled his own sister, before dumping her lifeless body in a rural New Brunswick snowbank.

The Ballad of Jacob Peck is the tragic and fascinating story of how isolation, duplicity, and religious mania turned impoverished, hard-working people violent, leading to a murder and an execution. Babcock was hanged for the murder of his sister, but in her meticulously researched book, Debra Komar shows that itinerant preacher Jacob Peck should have swung right beside him. The mystery lies not in the whodunit, but rather in a lingering question: should Jacob Peck, whose incendiary sermons directly contributed to the killing, have been charged with the murder of Mercy Hall?

In this epic saga, media accounts of what happened in the aftermath of the murder have taken on a life all their own, one built of half-truths, conjecture, and narrative devices designed to titillate, if not inform. A forensic investigation of a crime from the Canadian frontier, the tale of Jacob Peck, Amos Babcock, and Mercy Hall remains as controversial and riveting today as it was more than two hundred years ago.

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The Last Duel: A True Story Of Crime, Scandal, And Trial By Combat In Medieval France

Crown | September 13, 2005 | Paperback | English

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“A taut page-turner with all the hallmarks of a good historical thriller.”—Orlando Sentinel
 
The gripping true story of the “duel to end all duels” in medieval France that pits a knight against a squire accused of violating the knight’s beautiful young wife, soon to be a major motion picture.

In the midst of the devastating Hundred Years’ War between France and England, Jean de Carrouges, a Norman knight fresh from combat in Scotland, finds his wife, Marguerite, accusing squire Jacques Le Gris of brutally raping her. A deadlocked court decrees a “trial by combat” that also leaves Marguerite’s fate in the balance. For if her husband loses the duel, she will be put to death as a false accuser. 

While enemy troops pillage the land, and rebellion and plague threaten the lives of all, Carrouges and Le Gris meet in full armor on a walled field in Paris. What follows is a fierce duel before a massive crowd that includes the teenage King Charles VI, during which both combatants are wounded—but only one fatally.

Based on extensive research in Normandy and Paris, The Last Duel brings to life a colorful, turbulent age and three unforgettable characters caught in a fatal triangle of crime, scandal, and revenge. The Last Duel is at once a moving human drama, a captivating detective story, and an engrossing work of historical intrigue with themes that echo powerfully centuries later.

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Black Dahlia, Red Rose: The Crime, Corruption, And Cover-up Of America's Greatest Unsolved Murder

WW Norton | November 13, 2018 | Paperback | English

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Black Dahlia, Red Rose: The Crime, Corruption, And Cover-up Of America's Greatest Unsolved Murder is rated 5 out of 5 by 2.
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection
One of Bustle's "Best True Crime Books of the Year"

“[A] juicy page turner . . . capturing both the allure and the perils of the dream factory that promised riches and fame.”—New York Times Book Review



The gruesome 1947 murder of hopeful starlet Elizabeth Short holds a permanent place in American lore as one of our most inscrutable true-crime mysteries. In a groundbreaking feat of detection hailed as “extensive” and “convincing” (Bustle), skilled legal sleuth Piu Eatwell cracks the case after seventy years, rescuing Short from tabloid fodder to reveal the woman behind the headlines. Drawing on recently unredacted FBI and LAPD files and exclusive interviews, Black Dahlia, Red Rose is a gripping panorama of noir-tinged 1940s Hollywood and a definitive account of one of the biggest unsolved murders of American legal history.

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Murder In The First-class Carriage: The First Victorian Railway Killing

Overlook Press | April 30, 2013 | Paperback | English

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Did a small, neat, mild-mannered, Dickens-reading tailor commit the first railway murder in history --a crime that shocked both America and Britain? In July 1864, Thomas Briggs was traveling home after visiting his niece and her husband for dinner. He boarded a first-class carriage on the 9:45 pm Hackney service of the North London railway. A short time later, two bank clerks entered the compartment and noticed blood pooled in the seat cushions and smeared all over the floor and windows. But there was no sign of Thomas Briggs. All that remained was his ivory-knobbed walking stick, his empty leather bag, and a bloodstained hat that, strangely, did not belong to Mr. Briggs. The race to identify the killer and catch him as he fled on a boat to America was eagerly followed by the public on both sides of the Atlantic. The investigation and subsequent trial became a fixture in New York newspapers--and a frequent distraction from the Civil War that ravaged the nation. In Murder in the First-Class Carriage, acclaimed writer Kate Colquhoun tells the gripping tale of a crime that shocked an era.

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