Monday, February 6, 2012

Murder Most Foul

 My days are filled with murder. Murder for money, murder for love, and murder for, well, family issues.

I've read two books for class so far this semester, the first one titled Never Seen the Moon,The Trials of Edith Maxwell. Edith was a schoolteacher in western Virginia in 1935, when a late night altercation with her father landed her in the local jail, charged with murder. Edith's story is told by journalist Sharon Hatfield. Her book is a non-academic, but very professional, non-lurid true crime story that focuses on Edith's ordeal in relation to women's rights and the impact of yellow journalism. I enjoyed reading this book.

The second book is Murder on Rouse Hill by Alan Terry Wright, in which we learn the true story of how Jasper Francis was murdered by Charlie Blackburn over $1200 worth of cattle and his substantial bank account in the small town of Stoutland, Missouri in 1915. This book is written in creative nonfiction style, which quite frankly, is not my cup of tea. I skipped over many of the "creative" parts of the book, such as the scene where the horse, Sam Hill, is dreaming. Seriously? Despite my reservations about the books style, it is nonetheless an interesting and readable account of murder in the Ozarks.

In addition to these books I've managed to read one account of my murder, the Graham-Lee-Molloy case. George Graham had three women in his life (oops), two of which were his wives (double oops), and therefore one of them had to go. The account I read was produced in 1886 and reprinted by the local archives, where I just happen to volunteer. I also have a stack of about three hundred documents that I copied from the archives collection but have not yet had a change to read. In addition to these primary sources, I have numerous local history books that I want to read to get a feel for the Ozarks of 1885. Maybe if I wear period clothes, turn out the lights and lay on the bed, I will be transported back in time just like Christoper Reeve in Somewhere In Time. A girl can dream, right?


Caz said...

Oooh, sounds ghastly - I love it!! Sounds much more interesting than what I've had to read - Pere Goriot, by Balzac!

Elizabeth Sheppard said...

This sounds fascinating to me... true crime stories, and one written in Creative Non-Fiction style. I enjoy reading about that time period, and love reading anyhow, so I think I might like this class too. Thanks for sharing about it!