Friday, January 31, 2014

a treasury of victorian murder

the borden tragedy
the beast of chicago
the case of madeleine smith
the saga of the bloody benders
a treasury of victorian murder
rick geary
nbm publishing inc.
published 2003

He was the world's first serial killer and he existed in the late 19th century, operating around the Chicago World's Fair, building a literal house of horrors, replete with chutes for dead bodies, gas chambers, surgical rooms.  He methodically murdered up to 200 people, mostly young women.

Dry, fact-based accounts of some of the more notorious murderers in history.  They read almost like textbooks.  There is no creative license taken in any of these.  While interesting, some get downright boring.  The Bloody Benders was spent going on a history lesson of Kansas and of the guesstimations of where the Benders might have relocated.  Very little was spent on the family itself because it seems very little is known of the family, which begs the questions why include them in this series?

I found The Borden Tragedy most interesting because out of the four I read it had the markings of a true whodunit.  By all accounts it would seem that Lizzie Borden was innocent.  So who then, murdered her father and step-mother?

Madeleine Smith was also an intriguing because it seemed only she could be the culprit and if so she got away with murder to live a long and fulfilling life.

The Beast of Chicago was impressive mostly in how H. H. Holmes's trail of back and forth travels was kept straight!

If you're looking for no nonsense reads on murderers these are your books.  If you're hoping for some entertaining read I might try elsewhere.


  1. This looks EPIC!! Why haven't I heard of these before?? Going to look to see if my library has these!!

    1. I know! There's 9 out and my library only had these four. I'm on the hunt for the others. THERE'S A JACK THE RIPPER ONE!!!!


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