Dime Porque

Book reviews, random thoughts and rants

Murder of the century? Really? Which one?

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The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid WarsThe Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars by Paul Collins

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not well-organized. It was so confusing that I was forever going back to see who/what the author was talking about.

Easy to put down. I read a bit for short periods of time – not compelling enough to keep my attention.  One would think that the “Murder of the Century” would keep you intrigued.  It did do one thing well: I got a good night’s rest every time I picked it up at bedtime.

Not sure how the title applies – It didn’t convince me that the crime was “the murder of the century.” Perhaps that description is so overused now that it has lost meaning. Certainly it did not have the impact of the Simpson trial or the Scopes Monkey Trial because I never heard of it before.

The story that interested me most was the war among the newspapers / publishers. Proving that FOX News did not invent sensationalism, news reporters of the day were shameless in their pursuit of a salable story.  Because the author tried to cram too much information about both the media and the crime, the book became a disjointed account of forensics & media reaction. This was a time during which police didn’t secure crime scenes & news people had unlimited access-that in itself should have made for a compelling read. Perhaps The author could have used a little more sensationalism in his writing?

Lots of interesting information that should have created a compelling story. The author could have focused on one subject and written two books: media sensationalism or crime/forensics.  If he wanted both subjects, he could have styled it more like Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City – which had better continuity.

All is not lost if you trudge through this book. If you get through the labyrinth of information your reward will be information with which you can make impressive cocktail conversation.


Author: Elizabeth

feminist, bleeding heart liberal, reader, artist, world traveler

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