Doreen'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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's review
Apr 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: elle
Read from April 23 to 24, 2011

I've never really been a fan of the true crime genre as I grew up on a steady diet of murder mysteries, and true crime always pales in comparison. That said, I do enjoy the popular history genre, as it both entertains and makes me feel virtuous for learning something actual.

This book is equal parts true crime and popular history, as it spends as much time describing the Guldensuppe case as it does the atmosphere around it, particularly the rambunctious journalism that sought to make news as much as report it. The exploits of the young William Randolph Hearst are fascinating, and almost overshadow the murder that gave his newspaper the excuse to institute such crusading groups as the luridly named Murder Squad.

That said, it was the efforts of reporters that really solved this case, so to speak, and brought it to trial. Don't let the synopsis fool you: this book doesn't follow the actions of three investigators so much as it introduces you to a wide and colorful cast of characters involved in the trial. There isn't really that much of a mystery, not in the way Mr Collins presents it (my reaction to the "reveal" at the end was a "Well, duh.") As popular history though, and in particular as a report on the beginning of the tabloid wars, anchored in this trial, it's an excellent account.

I received this book gratis as part of ELLE Magazine's "ELLE's Lettres" Readers' Prize program.
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Reading Progress

04/23/2011 page 71
22.0% "Taking a break from A Song Of Ice And Fire."

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