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Blood and Money

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,417 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
Story of an infamous Texas murder that took place in society's realm of River Oaks, Houston; a search for the killer, and the subsequent trial
Hardcover, 474 pages
Published September 1st 1976 by Doubleday (first published 1976)
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Aug 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This bleak story is one of the best true-crime books around.

Joan Robinson, the daughter of Ash Robinson, a rich oil millionaire, dies mysteriously, and her husband, John Hill, is brought to trial for murder. It ends in a mistrial, and John is murdered by a contract killer before he can be tried again. The books then follows the people involved in the murder as the law attempts to bring them to justice.

Now, I don't believe John murdered his wife. If I recall the book correctly (and it's been a wh
Learnin Curve
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Utterly compelling and well worthy of the hype. It's a story in three books but is a tragedy in five acts. Very well written, I especially like that the court cases, which could have been boring if allowed to dominate the book, are seperated by the stories and people who lead up to them. No one is portrait as a saint, they are shown as real people with real flaws but it's very tactfully done. With the last most damning court case, the author allows the real events and words to do the talking.

It's a classic. I re-read it, and somehow had forgotten EVERY freaking detail. Except of course how totally bizarre the rich Texans are. That stuck with me from decades ago when I read this for the first time.

The crime of the murdered wife/daughter was all resolved by halfway through, then the obsessed old rich guy (the original victim's father) just basically went out and hired people and made sure that the murderer paid.

Wonder what ever happened to the kid? Time to google. It was the first tim
Anthony Whitt
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This true crime story covers the typical elements that precede the act of murder. The hunger for power and control is fueled by greed, lust and revenge that drives desperate people to unimaginable acts. It's a detailed analysis of the motives of a troubled family and prominent businessmen sinking to the level of gangland reprobates to satisfy their insatiable desires. The twists and turns along the way deliver surprising results all the way to the last page in this Edgar Award winning tale.
Jim Thomsen
Sep 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best true-crime books of all time, in my opinion. Which feels odd to say when the ending is so ... unsatisfying. I walked away from "Blood And Money" thinking "I hung on for some 500 pages ... for ... THIS?"

And yet, it worked in its way, because I was pretty I knew who did what to who, even if those people were never going to get a fair day in court. And that wound up being good enough for me, largely because everything that had built up to that feeling of squirmy justice was simply
Russell Sanders
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Houston newspaper recently said that Thomas Thompson’s Blood and Money was the quintessential book about Houston. I had read the book in 1978 when it was first released, and I found it fascinating. With this new accolade, I decided to read it once again. And I wasn’t disappointed. Reading like a novel, rather than the non-fiction it is, Thompson captivates his readers with a story of devotion, greed, treachery, prostitution, and guile. The book opens with the death of socialite Joan Robinson ...more
Dennis Nehamen
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I notice that my average rating on books is almost a perfect five. There's a reason. I only rate books I finish and I only finish books that thrill me. Blood and Money, similar to Serpentine, is not a complex story but it is a great way to spend a couple days sitting out by the pool on vacation. I'm not giving it a 5 for it's deep meaning or stylistic presentation. It's just a great story of a little too much parental love.
Aug 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This true crime book is chilling, particularly if you grew up in River Oaks like I did and went to Christmas parties in the house where everything happened. I'm not much into the true crime genre, but I highly recommend this book for people who are... and even people who aren't, now that I think about it.
Christopher M Simonton
I've been long infatuated with this story and finally got around to reading this book. Lilla Paulus was my Grandfather's adopted cousin (she was adopted as an infant by his aunt and uncle), so I grew up hearing about this saga. I thought I had an idea of how crazy this story was, but this book provided many more details I had never heard. Some of the family stories about Lilla and her wild and crazy early-adult years put another interesting twist on the tale and made it that much better for me t ...more
Jill Meyer
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the benefits of the e-book publishing boom is the reissuing of old, out-of-print books. Several books by the late author Thomas Thompson have been published in e-form and I just reread two of his classics, "Richie", and "Blood and Money". I had read both books when they were originally published in the 1970's and I found they have both stood the test of time. I'm going to review them together; both are true crime books but they differ in scope. One, "Richie", is a very personal story of o ...more
Suz Saunders
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, true-crime
This is the gold standard for true crime books. I read the first edition when it was published in 1976. I still have that first edition 41 years later, and have re-read it several times over the years. Recently a Kindle edition was released and offered at a discount, so I snapped it up. I wondered if I'd be disappointed to read it again after all this time. I wasn't. This book stands the test of time.

Thompson is a master of the material, and writes perceptively of a passel of Texas characters as
Jul 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: texas, non-fiction
don't get me wrong, this is an entertaining read. worked through it quickly and efficiently. the author does a fine job of weaving what is ultimately an exceptional tale. so many topics, people and places come up in generally discussing the history of the City of Houston and the legendary opulence of the Texans of the era. and from that perspective, I would recommend this reading to anyone interested in 20th century Texas history.

now with that said, I'm happy I read the book. but for me it was j
A compelling, if overly long, look at a Texas family's descent into tragedy and murder in the late '60s/early '70s. Lots of larger than life characters and a story so bizarre, it has to be true. By the end, though, I was just exhausted: at some point the narrative had begun to feel like misery porn. I'm off to cleanse myself with a novel about chefs.
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this many years ago but because I was slightly acquainted with Dr. John Hill, he being a doctor on staff at the small hospital that I worked at as a nurse, I found it fascinating. I still think of this case every time I drive through River Oaks on Kirby Dr. I'm sure I have forgotten much of the book since, but for anyone interested in true crime novels I would recommend it.
Sep 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
This true crime is very interesting, especially if you know Houston at all. The descriptions really take you back there! I have family who knew the family and that made it even more interesting. The house still sits prominently on a corner lot in River Oaks.
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
This is a leisurely walk through a complicated series of crimes: the opportunist husband, the possible murder, another possible murder, and the cover-up. What happened to wealthy socialite Joan Robinson Hill and her temperamental husband John? Did the father who adored her avenge her in his own way? The book strongly suggests answers to these questions, but it is left to the reader to interpret the material.

Bottom line--What's good: There is plenty of detail and thought put into building a case
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though my first sentence has nothing to do with the content of the book, I feel it is important to say. It was quite refreshing to read a book where the author understood mechanics, usage, grammar, and spelling. I haven't seen that in a while.

As for the book itself, it wasn't what I would call exciting. It was a to the point, fact filled, account of the murder of Joan Robinson Hill and her husband, John Hill. Though it never was proved that Joan Hill was murdered, in my opinion if she wasn't, sh
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This started out fairly interesting, but as the quest for justice dragged on, in this case, so did the book. It is not like me to plod; 91% of the way, through a book, and not finish, but it's just so long, repetitive, and uninteresting. Maybe with a lot of editing, it might be worthwhile. Save your time, and your mind, don't bother with this one.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blood and money

A sad tale of ambition, love, money and prestige. Where will it go? This book was written in 1976 and goes through the life of several people. How they were related in money and death
Joey Rushing
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book!

This book is as great as "In Cold Blood" There is truly an art to writing a True crime book and making it as compellable to read as a good novel. Unfortunately now I have to read all of his books because it was that good.
Lisa Burks
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having lived in Houston for 16 years and close to where this story took place I felt compelled to read the book.

Truly an excellent book. Not 1 dull moment. More than one night while reading it, I stayed up way too late!

Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, crime, true-crime
4.5 stars. Damned impressive book. When it's uncertain whether a piece of information is fact or fiction, Thompson specifies who said the information. Every player in the book gets a little biography which helps explain how that person behaves. Thompson doesn't have all the answers, but he provides all the evidence, and does a great job dramatizing what is known.
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent true crime.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly one of the best True Crime books ever written. Suspenseful and colorful in the details of the "characters". Must read for any aficionado of the genre.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable true crime. Long, but broken into three books each dealing with different but linked crimes, it was easily digestible.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sam Reaves
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was recommended to me by a veteran journalist and true crime author as a classic of the genre. It's the story of a scandal that rocked high-society Houston in the early seventies: an oil man's daughter, star of the horse shows and gossip columns, weds a young plastic surgeon from a humble background who has been put through med school by her wealthy and indulgent father. The marriage goes sour; the wife dies of a sudden, savage illness and the husband is suspected of poisoning or infecting ...more
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a must-read for anyone fascinated by true crime. Originally published in 1976, this is a second edition. The events detail the life of Joan, born to a rich, spoiling and doting father, Ash Robinson in Houston Texas. We follow lightly thru her younger years, which helps to paint the picture of her father’s overbearing concern and love, a borderline obsessive behavior.
Joan has trouble staying married in part due to her father’s behavior. She ends up marrying a young man, John Hill who
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
(4.5) Before I read this, I read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. And while I read this, I was trying to discern why I liked Blood and Money more than that one. I came to the conclusion that the way Thompson writes the characters is with an air of humanity. Jonathan Berendt treated his like a freak show. Come see the Poison Guy! The transsexual drag queen! The antique dealing murderer at the center of Savannah society. It would be easy to do that in this twisted tail of Texas but Thompso ...more
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am better at recommending books than writing reviews. If you like true crime novels, read this book. It will be one of your favorites. For me, it is my hands-down favorite true crime novel. I finally read this book about the 1969 murder of Houston socialite Joan Robinson Hill. I couldn't put it down. Living in Houston, I have heard about the story but didn't know the details. It is a must-read for any fan of true crime novels. For Houston readers, there is added enjoyment of knowing the places ...more
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Soon to be a cable mimi-series. 1 3 Jun 24, 2017 11:17AM  
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He was born in Texas and graduated from the University of Texas in 1955. He then worked as a reporter and editor at the Houston Press.

Thompson joined Life Magazine in 1961 and became an editor and staff writer. While at Life he covered the JFK assassination and was the first writer to locate Lee Harvey Oswald's home and wife. Among his stories were coverage of the making of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely He
More about Thomas Thompson...