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The Christmas Murders

True Crime, True Crime History

Preface by Albert Borowitz

DescriptionA seasonal gift for connoisseurs of true crime

Here are ten murder cases of “the old-fashioned sort”—evoking a nostalgia more obviously associated with fiction—that all took place during the festive period from mid-December to Twelfth Night between 1811 and 1933. The settings of these grisly tales range from the Knickerbocker Athletic Club in New York (where a gentleman named Molineux provided a drastic cure for hangovers by putting cyanide in a gift-wrapped bottle of Bromo Seltzer) to an apartment in Glasgow (home of a wealthy Scotswoman whose demise seemed to have been satisfactorily explained by local constables, until Arthur Conan Doyle assumed the role of Sherlock Holmes) and from a builder’s workshop in North London (site of a murder committed by a man called Furnace, who suited his criminal action to his name) to the elegant dwelling of a ménage à trois near the Thames (scene of a puzzling poisoning that, years later, Raymond Chandler tried, unofficially, to solve).

In The Christmas Murders, Jonathan Goodman has collected stories as fascinating and compulsively readable as one would expect from a writer described by Jacques Barzun as “the greatest living master of true-crime literature” and by Julian Symons as “the premier investigator of crimes past.”

Editor

Jonathan Goodman, considered to have been Britain’s leading crime historian, died in January 2008. After service in the RAF, he began his career in the theater, working first as a stage manager and then as a producer. While with the theater in Liverpool, Goodman, who had already written a crime novel and the entertaining Bloody Versicles (reprinted in the United States by The Kent State University Press, 1993), an anthology of rhymes in crime, researched the celebrated case of William Wallace, who was convicted in 1931 of the murder of his wife Julia. The Killing of Julia Wallace (1969) was a great success, and Goodman’s career took off. The Kent State University Press has published Goodman’s The Passing of Starr Faithfull (1996), Tracks to Murder (2005), and Murder on Several Occasions (2007).

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