The Murder of the Century

The Murder of the Century

The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized A City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars

Book - 2011
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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 stymied: 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. Reenactments of the murder were staged in Times Square, armed reporters lurked in the streets of Hell's Kitchen in pursuit of suspects, and an unlikely trio -- a hard luck cop, a cub reporter, and an eccentric professor -- all raced to solve the crime. 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 is a rollicking tale -- a rich evocation of America during the Gilded Age and a colorful re creation of the tabloid wars that have dominated media to this day. - Jacket flap.
Publisher: New York : Crown, ©2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780307592200
0307592200
Branch Call Number: 364.1523/COLLINS
Characteristics: viii, 325 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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Library_Dragon Jun 27, 2012

Terrific piece of historical true crime. The tabloid wars it sparked just add to the fun. My favorite part: when one of the publishing giants actually BOUGHT the murder scene (a local apartment) so he could stop the other newspaper reporters from getting in!

DesPlainesReaders Jun 26, 2012

Wit and fact collide in this history-told-as-a-detective-novel concerning the mystery behind the discovery of dismembered body parts in 1897 New York City. The breakneck search for the killer and the ensuing trial is told against the backdrop of the surging newspaper war between William Randolph Hearst's New York Evening Journal and Joseph Pulitzer's the World. A fascinating slice of American history, this book has something for everyone. ~WeAreSpartacus/notTom

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MDianeRogers
Jun 16, 2011

Powell's today had this from 'The Oregonian'- Paul Collins Investigates "The Murder of the Century" A review by Marc Mohan: http://www.powells.com/review/2011_06_16
The author is NPR's "Weekend Edition" literary detective.

Very interesting book - a pivotal time for 'news' - passenger pigeons and telephone lines! But too little analysis here. Was there really any motive? Who decided how to try the case? What ideas might have informed the coverage and the investigations?

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