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Murder for Profit
Murder for Profit
This is not exactly a police procedural, but is a good example of the early true-crime account. Bolitho summarizes the careers of six real murderers, who slew for money, including Burke and Hare, the Edinburgh grave robbers, and Landru, the French "Bluebeard".
Hardcover, 332 pages
Published May 1st 1984 by Marlboro Pr
(first published 1926)
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William Bolitho, Murder for Profit (Time, 1926)
South African expatriate William Bolitho (a pen name for a chap named Charles Ryall) wrote Murder for Profit in the mid-twenties, looking at the antics of five at-the-time notorious murderers (most of whom, save Werewolf of Hanover Fritz Haarmann, have now pretty much faded into obscurity). He was a journalist, a regular contributor to the Manchester Guardian and New York World at the time, and fleshed out some of his articles to compile the book. W ...more
Originally published in 1926, Bolitho’s examination and analysis of five of the most infamous mass murders of western Europe until that time---at least murders that had left extensive public records ---soon reveal more about the author than his theories. His attempts to place blame seem to evolve as his essays continue. Beginning with William Burke, as a grave robber turned murdering entrepreneur, in the early 1800’s and ending with Fritz Haarmann, the butcher of Hanover, who was accused of ...more
As a detective story fan I've long wanted to sample a true crime book. The is one of the older classics in the field, and I found it interesting, but only to a point. In the midst of the third murderer's story (G. J. Smith) I realized the appeal was primarily sensationalistic, similar to a good newspaper account -- I should say a very good account; Bolitho is an excellent writer. On a desert isle I would finish it with relish, but there are too many other books I want to read this summer.