Heinous

Every day, amateur sleuths take to the internet in droves to solve disappearances and catch killers on the run. Writers and public figures ask whether it’s healthy to be so obsessed with all things lurid and obscene. Think this widespread fascination with true crime is merely a symptom of living in the Information Age? Melina Druga will force you to reconsider.

In this gripping volume, the journalist and author of A Tale of Two Nations unearths newspaper reporting from more than a century ago, revisiting 19 grisly and unnerving cases that shocked the U.S. — including a few that continue to stump investigators to this day.

Crime was on the rise in 1910s America. As headlines about axe murderers and missing children became inescapable, criminologists and journalists alike expressed concerns about the homicidal nature of “half-wits” and “morons.”

Heinous collects tales of robberies gone wrong, murderous janitors, a fake priest’s blood sacrifice, and a man dubbed the “dime novel fiend.” You’ll meet Alice Crispell and Marion Lambert, teenagers whose still-unsolved murders fed into a moral panic over premarital sex and permissive parenting. Then there’s Dorothy Arnold, the 25-year-old New York City socialite who disappeared in 1910, never to be seen again…

Heinous: Forgotten Murders From the 1910s by Melina Druga

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