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Susan Wadsworth-Booth
The Kent State University Press
1118 Library
Kent, OH 44242-0001 USA
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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.

Cold War Secrets

| Filed under: Forthcoming, True Crime, True Crime History
Cold War Secrets/Welsome. Kent State University Press

Thomas Riha vanished on March 15, 1969, sparking a mystery that lives on 50 years later. A native of Prague, Czechoslovakia, Riha was a popular teacher at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a handsome man, with thick, graying hair and a wry smile.

After his disappearance, the FBI and the CIA told local law enforcement and university officials that Riha was alive and well and had left Boulder to get away from his wife. But, as Eileen Welsome convincingly argues, Riha was not alive and well at all. A woman named Galya Tannenbaum, she concludes, had murdered him.

 


Uncommon Case of Daniel Brown

| Filed under: Forthcoming, True Crime, True Crime History

In 1875, an Irish-born Baltimore policeman, Patrick McDonald, entered the home of Daniel Brown, an African American laborer, and clubbed and shot Brown, who died within an hour of the attack. In similar cases at the time, authorities routinely exonerated Maryland law enforcement officers who killed African Americans, usually without serious inquiries into the underlying facts. But in this case, Baltimore’s white community chose a different path. A coroner’s jury declined to attribute the killing to an accident or self-defense, the state’s attorney indicted McDonald and brought him to trial, and a criminal court jury convicted McDonald of manslaughter.

 


I Have Struck Mrs. Cochran with a Stake

| Filed under: Recent Releases, True Crime, True Crime History
I Have Struck Mrs. Cochran with a Stake by Leslie Lambert Rounds. Kent State University Press.

After creeping out of bed on a frigid January night in 1832, teenage farmhand Abraham Prescott took up an ax and thrashed his sleeping employers to the brink of death. He later explained that he’d attacked Sally and Chauncey Cochran in his sleep. The Cochrans eventually recovered but—to the astonishment of their neighbors—kept Prescott on, somehow accepting his strange story.

 


The Potato Masher Murder

| Filed under: Recent Releases, True Crime, True Crime History

Albin Ludwig was furious. He had caught his wife, Cecilia, with other men before; now, after secretly following Cecilia one evening in 1906, Albin was overcome with suspicion. Albin and Cecilia quarreled that night and again the next day. Prosecutors later claimed that the final quarrel ended when Albin knocked Cecilia unconscious with a wooden potato masher, doused her with a flammable liquid, lit her on fire, and left her to burn to death.

 


The Beauty Defense

| Filed under: Recent Releases, True Crime, True Crime History
The Beauty Defense by Laura James. Kent State University Press

Justice is blind, they say, but perhaps not to beauty. In supposedly dispassionate courts of law, attractive women have long avoided punish­ment, based largely on their looks, for cold-blooded crimes. The Beauty Defense: Femmes Fatales on Trial gathers the true stories of some of the most infamous femmes fatales in criminal history, collected by attorney and true crime historian Laura James. With cases from 1850 to 1997, these 32 examples span more than a century and cross cultures, ethnicities, and socioeconomic status. But all were so beautiful, as James demonstrates, that they got away with murder.

 


Bigamy and Bloodshed

| Filed under: Audiobooks, Recent Releases, True Crime, True Crime History
Bigamy and Bloodshed by Larry E. Wood. Kent State University Press.

In the summer of 1885, ex-convict George Graham bigamously married Cora Lee, foster daughter of nationally known temperance revivalist Emma Molloy, and the three took up residence together on the Molloy farm near Springfield, Missouri. When the body of Graham’s first wife, Sarah, was found at the bottom of an abandoned well on the farm early the next year, Graham was charged with murder, and Cora and Emma were implicated as accessories. As Larry E. Wood notes, this sensational story made headlines across the country and threatened Mrs. Molloy’s career as a prominent evangelist and temperance revivalist.

 


A Woman Condemned

| Filed under: Audiobooks, Recent Releases, True Crime, True Crime History
A Woman Condemned by James M. Greiner. Kent State University Press

At first glance, the 1932 Easter morning murder of Salvatore “Sam” Antonio had all the trademarks of a gang-related murder. Shot five times, stabbed a dozen more, Antonio was left for dead. His body was rolled into a culvert south of Albany, New York. It was only by chance that the mortally wounded Antonio was discovered and brought to the hospital. He died in the emergency room without ever naming his assailant.

 


Six Capsules

| Filed under: Audiobooks, Award Winners, Recent Releases, True Crime, True Crime History
Six Capsules by George R. Dekle Sr. Kent State University Press

As Ted Bundy was to the 20th century, so Carlyle Harris was to the 19th. Harris was a charismatic, handsome young medical student with an insatiable appetite for sex. His trail of debauched women ended with Helen Potts, a beautiful young woman of wealth and privilege who was determined to keep herself pure for marriage. Unable to conquer her by other means, Harris talked her into a secret marriage under assumed names, and when threatened with exposure, he poisoned her.

 


The Belle of Bedford Avenue

| Filed under: Audiobooks, Recent Releases, True Crime, True Crime History
The Bell of Bedford Avenue by Virginia A. McConnell. Kent State University Press

At the turn of the 20th century, many affluent Brooklyn teens and young adults were bucking the constraints of their immigrant parents and behaving badly: drinking, having sex, staying out all night, stealing, scamming local businesses—and even more serious activities. The culmination for twenty-year-old Walter Brooks was being murdered in a seedy Manhattan hotel in 1902.

 


The Insanity Defense and the Mad Murderess of Shaker Heights

| Filed under: Audiobooks, Award Winners, History, Recent Releases, Regional Interest, True Crime, True Crime History
The Insanity Defense and the Mad Murderess of Shaker Heights by William L. Tabac. Kent State University Press

They have no witnesses. They have no case. With this blunt observation, Mariann Colby—an attractive, church-going Shaker Heights, Ohio, mother and housewife—bet a defense psychiatrist that she would not be convicted of murder. A lack of witnesses was not the only problem that would confront the State of Ohio in 1966, which would seek to prosecute her for shooting to death Cremer Young Jr., her son’s nine-year-old playmate: Colby had deftly cleaned up after herself by hiding the child’s body miles from her home and concealing the weapon.