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History Booklists

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Historical True Crime

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Death by Chocolate: the Serial Poisoning of Victorian Brighton
by Sophie Jackson Details
Brighton in the 1870s was a popular tourist destination, but when little Sidney Barker dies from strychnine-poisoned chocolates, the town is thrown into panic. Could it have been an accident or is someone out to harm Brighton? When more children are poisoned by sweets and arsenic-laced cakes sent to residents, the police step up the search for a serial poisoner.
Duel with the Devil: the True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take on America's First Sensational Murder Mystery
by Paul Collins Details
A remarkable true account of a stunning turn-of-the-19th century murder and the trial that ensued--a showdown in which iconic political rivals Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr joined forces to make sure justice was done.
I Am Murdered: George Wythe, Thomas Jefferson, and the Killing That Shocked a New Nation
by Bruce Chadwick Details
Wythe lived long enough to accuse his grandnephew of poisoning him and two other members of his household. Why did three prominent doctors insist that he hadn't been poisoned at all? Learn the grisly, fascinating, and often astounding tale of Wythe's murder and America's very first "trial of the century."
Little Demon in the City of Light: a True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Époque Paris
by Steven Levingston Details
The thrilling and so wonderfully French story of the 1889 murder of a lascivious court official by a ruthless con man and his pliant mistress, an international manhunt, a sensational trial, and an inquiry into the limits of hypnotic power.
Murder in the First-class Carriage: the First Victorian Railway Killing
by Kate Colquhoun Details
In July 1864, Thomas Briggs was traveling home after visiting his niece and her husband. He boarded a first-class carriage on the 9:45 pm to Hackney. On arrival two bank clerks discovered blood all over the interior of Briggs's compartment.The race to identify the killer and catch him as he fled on a boat to America was eagerly followed by the public on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Damnation of John Donellan: a Mysterious Case of Death & Scandal in Georgian England
by Elizabeth McGregor Details
This account examines the suspicious death of an eighteenth-century aristocrat, describing the circumstances of his sudden demise, the leading suspects, and the sensational trial and execution of a man who may have been innocent.
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
by Erik Larson Details
Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.
The Hotel on Place Vendôme: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris
by Tilar J Mazzeo Details
Set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of World War II, this book examines the history of Paris's world-famous Hôtel Ritz, a tale of glamour, opulence, and celebrity; dangerous liaisons, espionage, and resistance.
The Inheritor's Powder: a Tale of Arsenic, Murder, and the New Forensic Science
by Sandra Hempel Details
This is an account of the 1833 case that helped change the way murderers who used poison were prosecuted, when an unknown chemist created a test that could determine the presence of arsenic in the body.
The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime
by Judith Flanders Details
In this exploration of murder in the nineteenth century, the author explores some of the most gripping cases that fascinated the Victorians and gave rise to the first detective fiction.
The Murder of the Century: the Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars
by Paul Collins Details
Clues to a horrifying crime are turning up all over New York, but the police are baffled: There are no witnesses, no motives, no suspects. The grisly finds that began on the afternoon of June 26, 1897, plunged detectives headlong into the era's most baffling murder mystery. This book is a tale of America during the Gilded Age and a colorful re-creation of the tabloid wars that have dominated media to this day.
The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable: a True Tale of Passion, Poison & Pursuit
by Carol Baxter Details
Quaker John Tawell's trial became a sensation, involving poison and sexual scandal. It helped to secure the telegraph's fame and usher in the modern communication age. A true tale of murder and scientific revolution.
The Professor and the Madman: a Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
by Simon Winchester Details
Winchester describes how more than ten thousand definitions were submitted for the first Oxford English Dictionary from Dr. W.C. Minor, an American Civil War criminal who was considered both a genius and a lunatic.
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: a Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective
by Kate Summerscale Details
In June of 1860 three-year-old Saville Kent was found at the bottom of an outdoor privy with his throat slit. The crime horrified all England and led to a national obsession with detection, ironically destroying, in the process, the career of perhaps the greatest detective in the land, Jonathan Whicher of Scotland Yard.
Updated 04/18/2014
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