When Lincoln was practicing law, it was common for lawyers to write summaries of their cases and present them as fiction. These crime stories were very popular and, at that time, no one saw any ethical problem with this. Lincoln based his story, originally titled, A Remarkable Case of Arrest for Murder, on a the case in which he defended the Trailor brothers in 1841. Lincoln was a great fan of Poe's mystery stories and may have been inspired by them or it may have simply been the strangeness of the case that inspired him to turn it into a story five years after it happened.
A Remarkable Case of Arrest for Murder first appeared on the front page of the Quincy Whig on April 15, 1846 and was described as, "A murder mystery by Abraham Lincoln." The editors also went so far as to add the following editorial note:
The following narrative has been handed us for publication by a member of the bar. There is no doubt of the truth of every fact stated; and the whole affair is of so extraordinary a character as to entitle it to publication, and commend it to the attention of those at present engaged in discussing reforms in criminal jurisprudence, and the abolition of capital punishment.
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
I was just curious about what Abraham Lincoln had written. I guess I am still curious.
Would you ever listen to anything by Abraham Lincoln again?
probably the Gettysburg Address.
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jim Killavey?
narrator was fine. There wasn't anything for him to do
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Trailor Murder Mystery?
I would have made an actual story or mystery. This was more like a news article.
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