This was not a bad book, but not a great book either. It tells the story of a fascinating murder case and of the era of yellow journalism wars. That part of the book was quite interesting although I do feel that there was miscarriage of justice as Augusta Nack should have been executed also.
The most interesting bits of the story are the search for the identify of the victim once various body parts come to the surface and then the trial. The running back and forth and the dirty tricks of the various reporters and the papers were fascinating, but in part went on too long and too much was made of a lot of events.
The incompetence of the prosecutor was astonishing. He went on to prosecute someone where if he had revealed all the evidence he would have lost. Also it shows the sloppy forensic work of the time and how little forensics actually played in the case, although if a full discussion of the wounds on the body had come out in court, Mrs. Nack would have been found guilty. The fact that the prosecutor cut a deal with her so he could get at least one conviction shows the low quality of courts at the time especially in a major case.
The narrator was rather a monotone, although in the part of the trial the narrator was excellent in portraying the defense attorny Howe, who was the leading defense attorney of the time. I found it hard to believe that he lost the case. However, Victorian sensibilities played a role here -- and it is noteworthy that women were excluded from the court after a discussion of how the identification was made, despite the lack of a head.
However, large sections of the books simply go on too long. The whole ending of book was dragged out to the point I stopped listening to it. The writing was on the whole a bit too wordy and an editor should have cut it down in length. There was a lot of unnecessary detail which was dragged out beyond their merit.
I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the history more than the murder itself. It was interesting to see how involved journalist were when it came to murder cases and how the police just let them.
Non Fiction Listener but huge Liar in my regular life
The narration was hard to take seriously and made me doubt the truth of the story or at least the implied importance of it
I would keep an open mind
I am a fan of more of a reading style and not the voice acting used here
The idea sounded good and I previewed but I did tire of the style of narration after an hour our so
An interesting slice of history - not only for the storyline itself but that it helps put today's behavior of the press into perspective. Reading stories like this one, it isn't people that have changed but the technology at their disposal.
This is really not about "The Murder of the Century" - it's really about the tabloid newspapers in New York City at the end of the 19th century. Pulitzer and Hearst owned warring papers, both using sensationalism and "yellow journalism" to try and increase their readership and outdo their rivals. Headlines were bold, scandal was encouraged, and Hearst even created a "murder squad" of reporters with badges and guns to search for evidence before the police could find it, and make "citizen's arrests" if need be to protect The Journal's scoop. From colour to faster presses, it was a time of changes in newspaper publishing, and the murder of a masseur was just some of the fuel that stoked the fire of tabloid journalism competition. Sure, there was a murder, a dismemberment of the corpse. a missing head, and a scandal in the city, but that's all secondary to the real focus of the book.
It was an interesting book, but not terribly compelling or succinct. Narration was just OK.
This is an interesting story that's as much about the end of an era, and the beginning of yellow journalism as it is about a sensational, and now forgotten murder. I definitely think it's worth a listen if you find either true crime or history interesting.
Just did in headline
So many...hearing about police, investors, the city and newspapers in that era were all very interesting.
Everything! Every character he portrays is teriffic. Love listening to him!
Not one...this isn't a moving book, it's much more.
This is not your average " true crime" book at all. It's a great listen!
I like crime stories and this story was more about the Tabloid wars and reporters than it was about the crime itself. I finished the audible but I was dying for it to be over. I wish I never bought it.
Again I am a crime buff and would have enjoyed listening more about the crime than the media hype from it.
One good thing about the book was the end, there was an update on what happened to all the people that was involved in the crime, that is the best way to end a book like this.
I really just got through this listen. It wasn't particularly interesting. I didn't find myself really listening on to found out what would happen. It was a very relaxing listen.
The narrator did a great job- if I had not enjoyed his performance so much, I probably would have given up about halfway through the book.
I think so. It wasn't a riveting story, but it was okay. I did feel like it really took me back to a certain time and place. I would suggest this to anyone who likes real crime stories but maybe wants to tone down the sensational details of the crime.