Results of the Dagger Award in the year 2011.
A riveting true crime story that vividly recounts the birth of modern forensics.
At the end of the nineteenth century, serial murderer Joseph Vacher, known and feared as “The Killer of Little Shepherds,” terrorized the French countryside. He eluded authorities for years—until he ran up against prosecutor Emile Fourquet and Dr. Alexandre Lacassagne, the era’s most renowned criminologist. The two men—intelligent and bold—typified the Belle Époque, a period of immense scientific achievement and fascination with science’s promise to reveal the secrets of the human condition.
With high drama and stunning detail, Douglas Starr revisits Vacher’s infamous crime wave, interweaving the story of how Lacassagne and his colleagues were developing forensic science as we know it. We see one of the earliest uses of criminal profiling, as Fourquet painstakingly collects eyewitness accounts and constructs a map of Vacher’s crimes. We follow the tense and exciting…[more]
From Wilbert Rideau, the award-winning journalist who spent forty-four years in Louisiana prisons working against unimaginable odds to redeem himself, the story of a remarkable life: a crime, its punishment, and ultimate triumph.
After killing a woman in a moment of panic following a botched bank robbery, Rideau, denied a fair trial, was improperly sentenced to death at the age of nineteen. After more than a decade on death row, his sentence was amended to life imprisonment, and he joined the inmate population of the infamous Angola penitentiary. Soon Rideau became editor of the prison newsmagazine The Angolite, which under his leadership became an uncensored, daring, and crusading journal instrumental in reforming the violent prison and the corrupt Louisiana justice system.
With the same incisive feel for detail that brought Rideau great critical acclaim, here he brings to vivid life the world…[more]
Murder in nineteenth-century Britain was ubiquitous—not necessarily in quantity but in quality. This was the era of penny-bloods, early crime fiction and melodramas for the masses. This was a time when murder and entertainment were firmly entwined.In this meticulously researched and compelling book, Judith Flanders, author of Consuming Passions, takes us back in time to explore some of the most gripping, gruesome and mind-boggling murders of the nineteenth-century. Covering the crimes (and myths) of Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper, as well as the lesser known but equally shocking acts of Burke and Hare, and Thurtell and Hunt, Flanders looks at how murder was regarded by the wider British population—and how it became a form of popular entertainment.
Filled to the brim with rich source material—ranging from studies of plays, novels and contemporary newspaper articles, The Invention of Murder brings to life a neglected dimension of British social history in a completely new and exciting way.
In July 1864, Thomas Briggs was travelling home after visiting his niece and her husband for dinner. He entered a First Class carriage on the 9.45pm Hackney service of the North London railway. At Hackney, two bank clerks entered the carriage and discovered blood in the seat cushions; also on the floor, windows and sides of the carriage. A bloodstained hat was found on the seat along with a broken link from a watch chain. The race to identify the killer and catch him as he flees on a boat to America was eagerly followed by citizens both sides of the Atlantic. Kate Colquhoun tells a gripping tale of a crime that shocked the nation.
Thrilling, true tales from the Vidocq Society, a team of the world’s finest forensic investigators whose monthly gourmet lunches lead to justice in ice-cold murders.
Three of the greatest detectives in the world—a renowned FBI agent turned private eye, a sculptor and lothario who speaks to the dead, and an eccentric profiler known as “the living Sherlock Holmes”—were heartsick over the growing tide of unsolved murders. Good friends and sometime rivals William Fleisher, Frank Bender, and Richard Walter decided one day over lunch that something had to be done, and pledged themselves to a grand quest for justice. The three men invited the greatest collection of forensic investigators ever assembled, drawn from five continents, to the Downtown Club in Philadelphia to begin an audacious quest: to bring the coldest killers in the world to an accounting. Named for the first modern detective, the Parisian Eugène François…[more]
It’s Sing Sing Prison, New York, July 1916. Charles Frederick Stielow, a 37-year-old farmhand with the mind of an infant, is just minutes away from the electric chair for a double murder he didn’t commit. With a vengeful legal system baying for blood, his situation looks hopeless. Eight blocks away, Stielow’s wife sobs helplessly in her hotel room, certain she will never see her husband alive again…
Slaughter on a Snowy Morn is the first full account of how Charles Stielow, convicted of murdering a wealthy landowner and his housekeeper, became the central figure in one of the most fascinating yet little-known stories in criminal history. The cast list includes New York State governor Charles Seymour Whitman—ambitious for the White House—and his nemesis, Sing Sing warden Thomas Mott Osborne, a passionate opponent of the death penalty, convinced of Stielow’s innocence. The crooked ‘expert’…[more]