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 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.
I was so bored at first, I almost gave up, but I am glad I persevered. Once the suspects were identified, I found it interesting. It was interesting to read about this crime in the context of the culture and technology at that time. The end of the book could have been shorter,
This is a story about a murder, but the twist is that the victim has no head. This tends to make identifying the body a bit difficult, particularly before the era of fingerprints, computer databases and DNA. There were many theories as to who did it, including the fact that the victim was still alive. Even at the end, I was not convinced of exactly what happened and how much culpability each suspect had.
The story itself was three stars for me, but the extra star comes from the narration. Once the trial started, I was enthralled with the different voices. They really came to life, particularly the defense attorney.
On a funny note, I live in NY State and taxpayers get frustrated with Albany's lack of action, I was amused to read that a bill regarding alternate jurors took 33 years to pass in the early 1900s and even then a reference was made to Albany's inaction.
Good book. Held my interest, but nothing special. It does show that not much has changed in the way society, the press, the police and prosecutors handle a big case. I'm a retired police officer and detective who worked in a very large city. That said...
The press take something obscure and make it big, sensationalizing every dark corner of a person's life as if that makes them guilty. The police try to do as little as possible until forced to move forward, then move in all the wrong directions, because they are the easiest directions to go in. The prosecutors don't seem to care who did it, just want to ride the wave of a big case and make a name for themselves. The people and the juries seem to swallow it all, hook, line, and sinker.
Of course not all cops, not all prosecutors, not all press, and not all society are like the above description. Most are not, but it seems more and more we are less concerned with justice and more on rattling our heads and demanding revenge.
Think it's not true? Look at how many people are being released from long prison terms and death row after DNA evidence is clearing them. People don't seem to mind bending our civil rights until they are the targets of an unjust persecution.
Possibly. If I read more on the trial covered in the story from other sources.
Just generally the scenes of the accused in prison and the way they reconciled their infamy!
My 15 minutes of fame due to the media!
Worth a listen. Leaves you with the sense that the media has always been ridiculous and makes heros of the wrong sort. The real news goes unnoticed.
I like books on history. Especially Post Civil War through WW2. I like dog stories and travel adventure books.
A great story and history of the beginning of the twentieth century. The story is told in a way that keeps you engaged. I did not want the story to end.
This was a wonderful book, and William Dufris is a very engaging narrator with excellent character voices. The problem is the editing. For example, most chapters begin without a sufficient pause from the previous chapter. The editor does not leave enough room for the listener to reflect on what was just said. This also leads me to wonder if the quality control is up to snuff, although this is hard to discern without reading along.
Pacing is the editor's art, and this editor nearly ruined a first-rate book read by a first-rate narrator. It's a shame I have to give the performance 2 stars since the narrator deserves 5. But until Audible makes production a separate star rating, this is what I must do.
I listen to a book a day just about. I am 49, I love mystery, thriller, true crime. G.Guidall best reader for me.
one of my first true crime books, was very pleased with this. Well written, not over done in any one area.
A little dry, yet still entertaining with the attention to details of the period. The origins of yellow journalism fascinate as we seem to have returned to News as Entertainment rather than information. As the french say:..."the more things change, the more they remain the same."
This is history but not the kind I learned in school. A murder, gruesome but not more so than others of the day, became a source of competition between the newspapers of Joseph Pulitzer and Randolph Hearst. The book is filled with juicy details and we are filled in on the stories of all players. Excellent. I hope more of Collins' books make it here.