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True Crime History

Send proposals via mail or e-mail to:
Will Underwood
The Kent State University Press
1118 Library
Kent, OH 44242-0001 USA
wunderwo@kent.edu
The True Crime History Series, aimed at both a general readership and a scholarly audience, features effectively written, well-documented studies of notable criminal cases from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, primarily American. Books in the series will often focus on once-sensational crimes that, at the time of their occurrence, captivated the public and will explore the social and cultural factors that help explain their significance. The series also includes studies of real-life crimes that served as the inspiration for important works of American fiction.

The Supernatural Murders

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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This anthology of thirteen true crime stories includes the mysterious slaying of Charles Walton, who was found slashed and pierced to death in an area notorious for its associations with black magic; the murder of Eric Tombe, whose body was located because of a recurring dream in which his mother saw Eric down a well; the terrorizing of Hammersmith, London, in the early nineteenth century by the nocturnal appearance of a “ghost”; the Salem witchcraft trials; the murder of Rasputin, who was believed by some in Russia to be a miracle worker and by others to be a dangerous charlatan; a Scottish tale in which evidence given by the ghost of the victim was allowed at the murderer’s trial; and the bizarre goings-on at 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York, where Ronnie DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family—the new occupants were subjected to all manner of sinister events, including the presence of poltergeists, or were they?

 


The Christmas Murders

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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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. 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.”

 


Born to Lose

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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Stanley Barton Hoss was a burglar, thief, and local thug from the Pittsburgh area. In eight short months in 1969, however, he became a rapist, prison escapee, murderer, and kidnapper; the subject of an intense nationwide manhunt; and one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted. In Born to Lose, author James G. Hollock traces Hoss from his earliest misdemeanors at the age of fourteen to a daring rooftop escape from the Allegheny Workhouse in Blawnox, Pennsylvania, where he was being held on a rape charge, to his killing of police officer Joseph Zanella in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, to the kidnapping near Cumberland, Maryland, and his ultimate murder of Linda Peugeot and her two-year-old daughter Lori in the autumn of 1969. Their bodies have never been found.

 


Queen Victoria’s Stalker

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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Queen Victoria’s Stalker is the first full-length account of the Boy Jones’s persistent stalking of Queen Victoria and the journalism and literature inspired by his intrusions. By comparing this case to other instances of celebrity stalking and discussing various theories of stalking mentality, Jan Bondeson offers a fresh analysis of this unique and unclassifiable case.

 


Murder and Martial Justice

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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During World War II, the United States maintained two secret interrogation camps in violation of the Geneva Convention—one just south of Washington, D.C., and the other near San Francisco. German POWs who passed through these camps briefed their fellow prisoners, warning them of turncoats who were helping the enemy—the United States—pry secrets from them. One of these turncoats, Werner Drechsler, was betrayed and murdered by those he spied on.

 


Lethal Witness

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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Controversial and dramatic, Lethal Witness charts Spilsbury’s rise and fall as a media star, revealing how he put spin on the facts, embellished evidence, and played games with the truth. In some notorious cases, his “positive evidence” led to the conviction and execution of men innocent of murder—gross miscarriages of justice that now demand official pardons. Andrew Rose examines Spilsbury’s carefully nurtured image, dogmatic manner, and unbending belief in his own infallibility and exposes the fallacies of the man dubbed “the most brilliant scientific detective of all time.” True crime fans, students of forensics, and law enforcement professionals will enjoy this biography of Sir Bernard Spilsbury, the man who helped raise forensic science to an art.

 


Murder on Several Occasions

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
Murder Book Cover

With the author as detective, each of Goodman’s essays examines a particularly notorious murder and subsequent trial. He introduces the readers to the 1923 shooting at the Savoy Hotel in London of Prince Ali Kamel Fahmy Bey at the hands of his wife, Madame Marie-Marguerite Fahmy; he revisits the “Crime of the Century,” the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby in March 1932 allegedly by Bruno Richard Hauptmann, and his subsequent execution for this crime, even though this case against Hauptmann has come under scrutiny; and he explores the 1980 serial killings committed by Michele de Marco Lupo, a gay man who coaxed other homosexuals to meet with him, then strangled and savagely bit them.