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Anatomy Of A Murder (Crime Masterworks)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,086 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
First published by St. Martin's in 1958, Robert Traver's Anatomy of a Murder immediately became the number-one bestseller in America, and was subsequently turned into the successful and now classic Otto Preminger film.It is not only the most popular courtroom drama in American fiction, but one of the most popular novels of our time.A gripping tale of deceit, murder, and a ...more
Published (first published 1958)
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Feb 20, 2015 Tracey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I've never seen this book's movie; I love James Stewart. But at least this way I had no idea what was going to happen next in the book; that was nice. And, funnily enough, I still had the odd little perk of being able to hear Jimmy's voice in my head for a lot of the lines. (Oh, and Lee Remick is perfect as Laura Manion.) I have a *cough* irresistible impulse to rent the movie. Soon. (Actually, the dvd might be in my mailbox now; I just can't get to it because of ALL THE SNOW.)

Jan 30, 2016 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, law
A woman is raped at the gates of her neighborhood, but her cries for help register too late. By the time her husband, one Lieutenant Frederic Manion of the US Army, realizes what has transpired, the rapist has fled for the safety of the local bar...a bar which he owns. Undeterred, the Lieutenant enters the bar, calmly empties his Luger pistol into the man's chest, and leaves to deliver himself into the hands of the closest deputy-sheriff. Paul Biegler is a former prosecuting attorney with congr ...more
Nov 01, 2010 Devin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I randomly picked this up off my grandparent's bookshelf of leather-bound Franklin books. I have to say that not only did I thoroughly enjoy the well written story, but I learned more about our legal system than in both my high school and college civics classes combined. This will absolutely be a re-read!
Thanks to a facebook friend for recommending I read this book for my read 50 books from 50states challenge. This book takes place in MICHIGAN! and I heard it is loosely based on real events.

Well I will say for a book written in the 1950's this was a topic I did not expect to be, and then I found out it was a very popular book and made into a movie.

A crime of rape and murder that is brought to a sensational trial. Most of the book is about the prep work for the trial and then the trial. Hey court
Jan 11, 2015 Carl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A classic

I had heard of this novel most of my life, and I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about back in its day. I was fascinated by the approach it took to a murder, knowing guilt at the outset, then truly hoping that innocence by means of insanity would be proven. We learn a lot about human nature, especially our own, by the time we reach the end. Equally fascinating is to compare that time, 50 years ago, to today. Maybe it's best I waited so long.
Oct 15, 2011 Stacielynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: joi-de-livres
one of the first courtroom procedural dramas. read it because it was one of the top 10 best sellers of 1958. it was really long and sometimes a little long-winded, but it was ground-breaking for a few reasons: it was a courtroom procedural, it addressed rape in a straight-forward manner; and it used the insanity defense.

in an era when everyone has seen a billion tv shows or movies about the legal system, some of the explanation and background in this book may feel cumbersome, but when it was wr
Debbie Maskus
Oct 27, 2010 Debbie Maskus rated it really liked it
Of course, I have seen the movie version with Jimmy Stewart, and will now need to revisit the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Robert Traver. The story vibrates with life and images. Laura Manion throbs with sexuality and her husband, Frederic Manion, simmers with jealousy. Paul Biegler, alias Polly, relishes spending all waking hours fishing, until he decides to defend Frederic Manion on a charge of murder. The story centers on the trial preparation and the trial. One of my favorite quo ...more
Apr 12, 2015 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a wonderful courtroom thriller that set the stage for an entire genre of books in the past fifty years since its first publication. Most of you will probably recognize this book from the famous 1959 movie of the same title, inspired by the book, directed by Otto Preminger, and starring Jimmy Stewart as defense attorney Paul Biegler and George C. Scott as the prosecuting attorney Claude Dancer. For the most part, the plot remains the same from the movie: a bartender allegedly rapes an arm ...more
Sandra Stiles
Jul 28, 2009 Sandra Stiles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, adult
John D. voelker was a Michigan Supreme Court Justice. He wrote Anatomy of a Murder based on a 1952 murder case, under the pen name of Robert Traver.
In this novel Paul Biegler is a lawyer who was formerly the prosecuting attorney. He takes on the case of an army lieutenant name Frederic Manion. He has been charged with shooting a bartender who his wife said raped her. Manion returns to the park after the murder and gives his gun to the park attendant and waits for the police.
The problem is, how d
Feb 18, 2011 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of legal thrillers

At #2 on the 1958 bestseller list is this story of a murder and trial, set in a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The legal thriller has become a staple in current fiction but was a fairly new genre in the 1950s. Compulsion, a 1957 bestseller by Meyer Levin was the beginning, but Levin had a journalism background while Robert Traver had been a practicing lawyer and judge.

The writing is clunky and wordy but Traver goes quite extensively into all aspects of preparing a case, selecti
Aug 14, 2015 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book was brought to my attention by its appearance on a "best mystery" list. I have, however, shelved it under fiction since the only mystery is whether the jury will agree with the defense's argument in the case. The case is murder charged against a man whose wife was raped by the deceased. The defense is temporary insanity. The prosecution tries every means to keep the rape out of the evidence.

But this is a wonderful book, especially for those who might be thinking about law school. Thoug
Kathleen Hagen
Anatomy of a Murder, by Robert Traver, A. borrowed from Library of Congress, Library for the Blind.

This is one of the kind of classics I love-50’s, noire, and, in this case, written by a lawyer about a case, where you get to see all of his machinations, the court dialogue with his thoughts thrown in, and a case against a man who admits that he killed a bar owner, and which looks impossible for anyone to defend. Also a lot of the Upper Peninsula scenery and Lake Superior as a mysterious backgroun
Dec 12, 2007 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on a true story, this novel is the first of its kind in the genre of legal thrillers. It is set in a resort town in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan near Lake Superior, and the protagonist is Paul Bieglar (Polly), a former D.A. who is struggling to find his place in life with regards to his career and personal life. He is approached by Lt. Frederic Manion, who hires him to defend him against the charge of murder. Frederic admitted killing Barney Quill after Barney brutally raped and beat h ...more
Ace Martin
Apr 10, 2015 Ace Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book - my husband received a signed copy of the from his father. Turns out my father-in-law was playmates with the author's daughter, while growing up in Michigan. Inside the book was a news clipping from the local paper announcing that the book would be made into a movie. What a treasure!
Apr 01, 2015 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2008 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book - though at nearly 400 pages it took me forever. I'm not the fastest reader, and I usually only read before falling to sleep at night, so I had to renew the book beyond the normal 3 weeks available from the library.

Grew to love the characters and hated to see the story end. Interesting look at a small town attorney thrust into a big murder trial. Lots of ups-and-downs, and very good, protracted, court room scenes.

As a law school grad, you have to love any book that talk
Aug 11, 2008 Channelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been wanting to read this book for a couple years, ever since a law school professor that I greatly respected recommended it. I am so glad that I finally got to read it. The true intrigue in thsi story is trying to figure out whether the guy truly did it or not. The best part about it is that it's not until the last few pages that you finally figure it out. Paul Biegler tries a great case and he is a wonderful character/attorney. This book is written very well and it gives you the behind ...more
Sep 14, 2015 Dsqueri9 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Traver is a master. This is a true classic and a must read for any fan of the genre.
Barry Bridges
Mar 13, 2013 Barry Bridges rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book really does not need another review but I must comment on the linguistic structure. Traver delivers straightforward literature; articulate, intelligent and expecting the same of his reader. His structures are immaculate, his word choice superb. The dry humor of his character delivers chuckle after chuckle. This book bumps into my top ten. Highly recommended as a stretch for younger readers - a challenge to read, with a dictionary close by. This is the kind of entertainment that is diff ...more
Dec 16, 2015 Marco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver is an excellent book. Not only does it give the sence that your in the courtroom hearing the trial go on as if you are present. But it also gives the reader the thriller of knowing major conflicts people don't know and that are crucial to the plot. I also love the build up to the final settings of the trial, although it might be a slow start at the beginning it makes up for it the rest of the book. The book also gives us a sence of human nature during the tri ...more
Mar 04, 2009 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book right before starting law school. This is a great courtroom thriller because not only is the story interesting, but you are included in the formulation of the courtroom strategy. I especially like the surprise twist at the end.

I also recommend the movie adaptation, starring Jimmy Stewart, Lee Remick, and George C. Scott. A bonus is the musical score by Duke Ellington, who also makes an appearance. A phenomenal film.
Excellent. Read it with an old-fashioned, not too fruity, made with good white-vest whiskey.

Traver/Voelker managed to both give me more respect for both psychiatrists and lawyers and make me incredibly homesick for the Upper Peninsula. But, like all the best stories, ANATOMY is about people, their imperfections, and the lies and truths that happen in everyday life.

Voelker showed a fair amount of disrespect for women and Native Americans - no more than was normal in the late 1950s in America, but
May 16, 2009 Hilary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was interesting, and definitely edgy for 1958, but it was written in this pedantic, good old boys, kind of style that drive me mad. If you like courtroom drama, AND you don't mind a man's man type style... and you're not too hung up on getting to the story quickly, this will be a great book to read. If any of those things annoy you, stay away.
Edward Covington
A must read for those in the field of law- but anyone would enjoy this book. Great characters and language, plus some twists that are far from predictable. The anti-Grisham.
Antonina Sh
No special turns of the plot, no unexpected twists, but solid detective writing, and if you are passionate about lawyers' work, this could be a hit.
Feb 06, 2016 Fishface rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, movies, mystery
Wonderfully intricate, tightly-plotted mystery story written by a real live prosecuting attorney. This story keeps you guessing until the last page and is utterly believable. Instead of the Agatha Christie conceit of introducing a know-it-all detective who clarifies everything easily for us on the last page, this is like the deal deal faced by attorneys, police and bystanders, because only the killer knows it all, and the killer is not telling. It's left to the reader to try to sort through all ...more
Amber Foo
Dec 25, 2014 Amber Foo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I vastly admired Mr Traver's sometimes-subtle-othertimes-obnoxious jabs with these 'lawyer terms'. It amused me to no ends and I positively chuckled at the prosecution and defense exchanges with each other. For me the best part of Mr Traver's writing is that there is no over-glorification of the main character's lifestyle and courtroom performance. I have read too many of Grisham's portrayal of such lawyers, and it greatly bothers me because being one myself, life has not always been as easy as ...more
Aug 03, 2015 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great Book! Enjoyed the intricacies of the strategy of the case. Now off to watch the movie!
Nov 01, 2010 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by a man who knows his stuff - law, that is! Good story. Better than a Grisham novel.
Oct 12, 2015 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thriller, mystery, court drama lovers
Recommended to Pamela by: book club selection
Courtroom drama. There is a killing in Upper Peninsula Michigan. But was it murder? Everyone who saw the guy come into the bar and shoot the owner would say yes.

The ex-D.A., Paul Biegler, now defense attorney, intends to show the judge and jury it was not murder.

Very good read. It is called The Original Classic Courtroom Thriller. It was the basis for the classic Oscar-nominated film directed by Otto Preminger and starring Jimmy Stewart. I have not yet seen the film but I can tell you the book i
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2015 Reading Chal...: Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver 2 15 Mar 07, 2015 02:17PM  
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