Murder and Mayhem: 52 Crimes That Shocked Early California 1849-1949

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What is the fascination with the criminally-minded? As humans, we are intrigued to know what lurks behind the physical offense and travel deeper into the psychosis of a killer, as dangerous as it seems, it is even more so and we are engaged by the “why’s” and “who’s” of it all. We get to be amateur sleuths and use our intellect, along with given clues, in a way we rarely do in everyday life. And it has been going on like this since the beginning. In Murder and Mayhem, we are invited to go back in time with 52 of the most unforgettable, and some lesser known, crime headlines. If you find yourself curling up in front of the TV on Law and Order night or unable to turn out the reading lamp when faced with a good thriller, you will be entertained and enthralled by the stories set in early California days.

With cases as infamous as The Black Dahlia, The Black Widow (a.k.a. Louise Peete), Joaquin Murrieta, the bombing of the Los Angeles Times Building, and the killing of the notorious Bugsy Siegel, readers are taken through a brief, yet thoroughly absorbing, tale of the crimes while incorporating black and white photos and detailed accounts relying on time and, sometimes, real account witnesses. As an unbiased account of crimes, this is a quick and appealing read, answering some questions for those of us who have only heard of these stories as legends and sometimes not finding answers at all, but peeling back the layers and inviting in more research and interest. As a reader of short stories, I appreciate the quick accounts; some stories are one page, while the more notorious or historically backed reach longer lengths of several pages. There could be more back story in some of these stories.

There are some grammatical errors that have been missed and with so many details and names in each case, sometimes the reading (even in brief passages) can be a tad overwhelming. Nonetheless, a curious read that is worth checking out if you are a history buff and a would-be forensic detective. Who knows, you may even be motivated to dig deeper.

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Star Count 3.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 192 pages
Publisher Schiffer Publishing
Publish Date 28-Jan-2012
ISBN 9780764339684 Buy this Book
Issue May 2012
Category Mystery, Crime, Thriller


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