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Melissa L. Peele

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  • Did She Kill Him?

  • A Victorian Tale of Deception, Adultery & Arsenic
  • By: Kate Colquhoun
  • Narrated by: Maggie Mash
  • Length: 12 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 62
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 58
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 58

In the summer of 1889, young Southern belle Florence Maybrick stood trial for the alleged arsenic poisoning of her much older husband, Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick. The ‘Maybrick Mystery’ had all the makings of a sensation and cracked the varnish of Victorian respectability. Florence’s fate was fiercely debated on the front pages of the newspapers and in parlours and backyards across the country.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating true story

  • By 6catz on 02-17-15

History with a Question Mark

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-16-18

Although it sounds a little grizzly to say so, I really enjoyed this book. I find true crime books in a historical context quite fascinating. The draw of studying the law and human psychology are the same as true crime set in the modern day, but the methods of crime solving and context are so different that it makes it all new. The writing and research are fluid and finely presented. The narrative voice is smooth and accent perfect, whether that accent is syrupy Southern or crisp upper-class british. The story is truly engaging. My only word of warning is that if you need to have every question answered at the end of your real life mysteries, this may not be the book for you. I won't say any more and ruin the story for you, but the book really does end on a question mark, as the title makes clear.

  • The Radium Girls

  • The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women
  • By: Kate Moore
  • Narrated by: Angela Brazil
  • Length: 15 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,483
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,366
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,362

The year was 1917. As a war raged across the world, young American women flocked to work, painting watches, clocks, and military dials with a special luminous substance made from radium. It was a fun job, lucrative and glamorous - the girls themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered head to toe in the dust from the paint. They were the radium girls. As the years passed, the women began to suffer from mysterious and crippling illnesses.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A simple way to improve the robotic narration

  • By B. C. French on 06-07-17

Dark with Tragedy, Shining with Love & Bravery

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-17-18

I am a prolific reader, but I can attest that this is definitely one of the most extraordinary nonfiction books I have ever read. The characters are beautifully and vividly drawn by the author and given additional life and individuality by the narrator. I must add a trigger warning, however. many of these lovely women will die hard, if bravely, and the diescriptions are somewhat necessarily gruesome. The loss of their amazing lives will make you sad, (indeed, you make cry, as I did), and the machinations of the business world that murdered them, in my opinion, will infuriate you. If you know that reading these subjects will not be good for you, give this book to another person you know who likes these types of books. If you are only temporarily in a dark place in your life, set it aside until things are brighter, then read it. It will be worth it. True, these women suffer, but they do it with fortitude, courage, love, friendship, and faith. And since they, and in some cases the men who supported them, struggled so hard, they left us with priceless knowledge, legal rights, and character examples to live by. If I ever decide to use my English degree to teach a class on Inspiring Women in History, this book would be one of those on my required reading list. It's worth the price. It's worth reading again, again, and again.

  • The Kill Jar

  • Obsession, Descent, and a Hunt for Detroit’s Most Notorious Serial Killer
  • By: J. Reuben Appelman, Catherine Broad - foreword
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 7 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 34

Four children were abducted and murdered outside of Detroit during the winters of 1976 and 1977; their bodies eventually dumped in snow banks around the city. J. Reuben Appelman was six years old at the time the murders began and had evaded an abduction attempt during that same period, fueling a lifelong obsession with what became known as the Oakland County Child Killings. There were few credible leads and equally few credible suspects. That's what the cops had passed down to the press, and that's what the city of Detroit and J. Reuben Appelman had come to believe.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting story but too much focus in the author

  • By CP.Reader on 09-07-18

A Muddle of Murder Suspects and a Horrible Family

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-17-18

Instead of focusing on the numerous suspects in this story with a spotlight that shows everything, the author appears to be using disco lighting, which jerks from one to another, coloring and only partially lighting each, before you can see anything clearly. He seems to have the same approach to time, jumping from the present, to his teenage years, to his childhood, quite randomly, until you realize you're learning more about his admittedly terrible family life than the murders you bought the book to learn about. He picks up important threads and people, then simply drops them without resolving them. This book should be shelved under self-discovery or psychological drama rather than true crime. I came away feeling annoyed, adrift, and not sure which of the half-dozen or so suspects he seemed to like might be guilty. It wasn't really worth the credit for me.

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