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The Murder of the Century

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

Collins, Paul, 1969-

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Murder of the Century
Print
Random House, Inc.
“No writer better articulates ourinterest in the confluence of hope, eccentricity, and the timelessness of the bold and strange than Paul Collins.”—DAVE EGGERS

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. 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. The Murder of the Century 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.


Baker & Taylor
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'smost 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 tale of America during the Gilded Age and a colorful re creation of the tabloid wars that havedominated media to this day.

Baker
& Taylor

Traces the 1897 murder of an unidentified victim and the ensuing tabloid war between media moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, chronicling the efforts of an anxious police officer, a cub reporter and an eccentric professor to solve the crime.
Traces the 1897 murder that initiated a tabloid war between media moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, chronicling the efforts of an anxious police officer, a cub reporter, and an eccentric professor to solve the crime.

Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307592200
0307592200
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 C
Characteristics: viii, 325 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

2012 nominee. The discovery of a dismembered corpse and the subsequent police investigation are fodder for the New York tabloids in the summer of 1897.


From the critics


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Jun 27, 2012
  • Library_Dragon rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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!

Jun 26, 2012
  • DesPlainesReaders rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

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

Sep 21, 2011
  • MDianeRogers rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

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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