emily's Reviews > The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars

The Murder of the Century by Paul  Collins
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Apr 21, 11

bookshelves: first-reads
Read in April, 2011

It starts out promisingly, as much as you can consider the discovery of a floating torso promising. (Which, for this kind of book, you absolutely absolutely can.) We immediately move into the world of the 1890s NY newspaper wars (which also means that, for the entire duration of my reading this, I had the Newsies soundtrack in my head), following the police force investigating the murder as well as the constant one-upmanship of Pulitzer, Hearst, and other newspaper publishers.

Honestly, I want to call this "meticulously researched" like it's a good thing -- and usually it is. However, the newspaper world of the time was so Byzantine as to be almost impossible to understand, and Mr. Collins takes great delight (as would I, if I knew as much as he does) in introducing us to newspapers'-worth of reporters by name, physical description, and life history. It became really difficult to follow in places, which threw me a lot. (I had the same experience with the NY police force -- there are a lot of detective who emerge for a page or two then disappear for 100+, only to return with little by way of reintroduction.)

There's a lot to like here, but some of the required memorization can make the reading experience feel like a pop quiz.
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message 1: by Alana (new)

Alana It starts with a floating body, eh? I'm thinking you should make a descriptive goodreads shelf that includes books that start like this. You'd have at least two.


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