Annal: 2003 Edgar Allan Poe Award® for Best Fact Crime

Results of the Edgar Allan Poe Award® in the year 2003.

Book:Fire Lover: A True Story

Fire Lover: A True Story

Joseph Wambaugh

From master crime writer Joseph Wambaugh, the acclaimed author of such classics as The Onion Field and The Choirboys, comes the extraordinary true story of a firefighter who may have been, according to U.S. government profilers, “the most prolific American arsonist of the twentieth century.”

Growing up in Los Angeles, John Orr would watch in awe as firefighters scrambled to put out blazes with seeming disregard for their own lives. One day he would become a fireman himself, and a good one. As a member of the Glendale Fire Department, he rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a fire captain and one of southern California’s best-known and most-respected arson investigators, as well as a writer of firefighting articles and finally of a fact-based novel. But there was another, unseen life, one that included many women, a need for risk, and a hunger for recognition. …[more]

Book:Blood and Ink

Blood and Ink: An International Guide to Fact-Based Crime Literature

Albert Borowitz

Book:The Count and the Confession

The Count and the Confession: A True Mystery

John Taylor

Do you believe that the gentlest and most courteous person you know is capable of murder?

The count in John Taylor’s beguiling true story is Roger de la Burde, a wealthy scientist and art collector, who wore ascots, claimed he was a Polish nobleman, bowed to women—and then routinely propositioned them. In 1992, Burde was found dead on his Virginia estate, with a single bullet wound in his forehead. The Count and the Confession explores the layers of mystery surrounding this strange man’s death. Did he, as the local deputies at first assumed, commit suicide? Or had he, as a state police investigator later decided, been killed? And if so, by whom? The longtime girlfriend? The pregnant mistress? A cuckolded husband? A disgruntled business associate?

At the center of this mystery is Beverly Monroe, who becomes the lead suspect in Burde’s death. Monroe is an improbable…[more]

Book:Death at the Priory

Death at the Priory: Sex, Love, and Murder in Victorian England

James Ruddick

In 1875 the beautiful widow Florence Ricardo married the handsome and successful young attorney Charles Bravo, hoping to escape the scandals of her past. But Bravo proved to be a brutal and conniving man, and the marriage was far from happy. Then one night he suddenly collapsed, and three days later died an agonizing death. His doctors immediately determined that he had been poisoned. The graphic and sensational details of the case would capture the public imagination of Victorian England as the investigation dominated the press for weeks, and the list of suspects grew to include Florence, her secret lover the eminent doctor James Gully, her longtime companion the housekeeper Mrs. Cox, and the recently dismissed stableman George Griffiths. But ultimately no murderer could be determined, and despite the efforts of numerous historians, criminologists, and other writers since (including Agatha Christie), the case has never been definitively solved. Now James Ruddick retells this gripping story of love, greed, brutality,…[more]

Book:Takedown: The Fall of the Last Mafia Empire

Takedown: The Fall of the Last Mafia Empire

Douglas Century, Rick Cowan

Seldom has the netherworld of the mafia been revealed with such fascinating detail and sheer suspense. Like the classics of the genre-from The Godfather to The French Connection to Wise Guy-Takedown leads us to the inner ring of a conspiracy of corruption and terror that held the city in its grip for nearly fifty years.

Rick Cowan was a young NYPD detective in 1992 when he dropped by a Brooklyn waterfront warehouse to investigate a recent fire bombing-only one in a string of interviews he considered routine. But what he found there was far from routine, for it would take him on a five-year odyssey and nearly cost him his life. In fact, he had stumbled upon the lead of a lifetime-the suspicion that he might unearth the hard evidence police and federal agencies alike had been chasing for decades: the proof of collusion among the mob families to extort billions from the nation’s most influential corporations that call New York their home. …[more]

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