Annal: 2006 Edgar Allan Poe Award® for Best Fact Crime

Results of the Edgar Allan Poe Award® in the year 2006.

Book:The Rescue Artist

The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece

Edward Dolnick

In the predawn gloom of a February day in 1994, two thieves entered the National Gallery in Oslo. They snatched one of the world’s most famous paintings, Edvard Munch’s The Scream, and fled with their $72 million trophy. The thieves made sure the world was watching: the Winter Olympics, in Lillehammer, began that same morning. Baffled and humiliated, the Norwegian police called on the world’s greatest art detective, a half-English, half-American undercover cop named Charley Hill.

In this rollicking narrative, Edward Dolnick takes us inside the art underworld. The trail leads high and low, and the cast ranges from titled aristocrats to thick-necked thugs. Lord Bath, resplendent in ponytail and velvet jacket, presides over a 9,000-acre estate. David Duddin, a 300-pound fence who once tried to sell a stolen Rembrandt, spins exuberant tales of his misdeeds. We meet Munch, too, a haunted misfit who spends his evenings drinking in the Black Piglet Café and his nights feverishly trying…[more]

Book:Desire Street

Desire Street: A True Story of Death and Deliverance in New Orleans

Jed Horne

In a New Orleans supermarket parking lot in the fall of 1984, two disparate lives become inextricably bound for the next fourteen years. The first, the life of Delores Dye, a white housewife and grandmother. The second, a young black man with a gun in hand. Moments following their maybe not so chance encounter, Mrs. Dye lay dead on the sunbaked macadam, and the killer had made off with her purse, her groceries, and her car. Four days later, following a tip, authorities arrested a known drug dealer and father of five named Curtis Kyles. Kyles would then be tried for Mrs. Dye’s murder an unprecedented five times, though he maintained his innocence throughout each trial. Convicted and sentenced to death in his second trial, he would spend fourteen years on death row. After a fifth jury was unable to reach a verdict, New Orleans Parish District Attorney Harry Connick, Sr., finally conceded defeat and dropped the murder charge. …[more]

Book:The Elements of Murder

The Elements of Murder: A History of Poison

John Emsley

Was Napoleon killed by the arsenic in his wallpaper? How did Rasputin survive cyanide poisoning? Which chemicals in our environment pose the biggest threat to our health today? In The Elements of Murder, John Emsley offers a fascinating account of five of the most toxic elements—arsenic, antimony, lead, mercury, and thallium—describing their lethal chemical properties and highlighting their use in some of the most famous murder cases in history. Indeed, we meet in this book a who’s who of heartless murderers. Mary Ann Cotton, who used arsenic to murder her mother, three husbands, a lover, eight of her own children, and seven step children, a grand total of 20 people. Michael Swango, who may have killed as many as 60 of his patients and several of his colleagues during the 20 years he practiced as a doctor and paramedic. And even Saddam Hussein, who used thallium sulfate to poison his political rivals. Emsley also shows which toxic elements may have been behind the madness of King George III (almost certainly…[more]

Book:True Story

True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa

Michael Finkel

The story begins in February of 2002, when a reporter in Oregon contacts New York Times Magazine writer Michael Finkel with a startling piece of news. A young, highly intelligent man named Christian Longo, on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list for killing his entire family, has recently been captured in Mexico, where he’d taken on a new identity—Michael Finkel of the New York Times.

The next day, on page A-3 of the Times, comes another bit of troubling news: a note, written by the paper’s editors, explaining that Finkel has falsified parts of an investigative article and has been fired. This unlikely confluence sets the stage for a bizarre and intense relationship. After Longo’s arrest, the only journalist the accused murderer will speak with is the real Michael Finkel. And as the months until Longo’s trial tick away, the two men talk for dozens of hours on the telephone,…[more]

Book:Written in Blood

Written in Blood: A True Story of Murder

Diane Fanning

An army brat-turned-marine, he saw combat in Vietnam, and returned a decorated soldier. An avid reader, his dreams of being an acclaimed novelist came true. His desire to find love was fulfilled when he married brilliant executive Kathleen Atwater, the first female student accepted at Duke University’s School of Engineering. The Petersons seemed the ideal academic couple—well-respected, prosperous, and happy.

All that came crashing down in December of 2001, when Kathleen apparently fell to her death in their secluded home in an exclusive area of Durham, North Carolina. But blood spattered evidence and a missing fireplace poker suggested calculated, cold-blooded murder. Her trusted husband stood accused. Prosecutors introduced evidence at trial that sixteen years earlier, Peterson was one of the last people to see his neighbor alive before she was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her home in Germany.

A dramatic trial followed in the explosive final chapter of a life that no novelist could ever have conceived…

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