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In this true crime reprint, Jonathan Goodman focuses his masterful detective skills on a criminal case that has inspired several novels, among them John O’Hara’s Butterfield 8, which became a major feature film.
The discovery of Starr Faithfull’s body on a Long Island beach in 1931 prompted front-page headlines on both sides of the Atlantic as the events leading to her death unfolded: her clandestine, sordid love affairs (one with a former Boston mayor) and unconventional sex life; her misuse of drugs and bootleg alcohol; and details of her stepfather’s unsavory business ventures, including his involvement in a murder investigation. Mindful of the still unanswered question of whether her death resulted from accident, suicide, or murder, Goodman attempts to demystify this enigmatic case. The only author granted full access to the massive police dossier, Goodman unveils through his meticulous research a startling yet credible conclusion. Chilling crime-scene photographs supplement the text.
On a 6,000-mile train trip across the North American continent from New York City to the West Coast, then back to New York over a southern route, prizewinning English crime historian Jonathan Goodman visited a number of sites where notorious murders occurred—the Kingsbury Run torso murders in Cleveland; the murder by “thrill-killers” Leopold and Loeb, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and the escapades of Al Capone in Chicago; the Henwood-VonPhul-Springer affair in Denver; the murders of Marian Williams and Blanche Lamont in the Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Francisco; and Kate Townsend’s murder in New Orleans. Goodman fuses two literary genres that reach back into the nineteenth century: the true crime essay fathered by Thomas De Quincy and travel reports popularized by Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.
As a true crime book, Tracks to Murder is witty and informative and enriches these classic American murder cases…[more]