Nicola Mansfield's Reviews > Death Scenes: A Homicide Detective's Scrapbook

Death Scenes by Sean Tejaratchi
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May 02, 2015

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Katherine Dunn's introductory essay is very opinionated giving various motives as to why Huddleston would have kept this scrapbook. These are not based on fact and are merely her obnoxious opinions. She also lays down her judgments on many other topics such as how could parents watch a child suffer without lovingly suffocating it with a pillow, the benefits of euthanasia and the horrible crime of presenting a good public image of the police. This almost ruined the whole book for me as it was so long I considered not even finishing it, but thankfully the scrapbook started just at that point of my frustration.

Huddleston's scrapbook is a disturbing visual documentary of death, crime, and oddities from the 1920s to the 1950s. Many people kept scrapbooks during this era on topics that interested them and being a police officer I don't find it unusual Huddleston's scrapbook centred on his work. The pictures are raw and become increasingly disturbing to look at simply because of the repetition of subject matter. I had to set the book aside and read it over two days because of this and I'm not squeamish about this topic. Nothing is sensationalised here; other than a couple of exceptions there are no famous murderers' or serial killers' victims here. These are mostly domestic crimes, accidents or self-inflicted deaths with a few oddities thrown in such as hermaphrodites, elephantiasis and conjoined twins. Huddleston uses a code to include deceased's names, date of death, manner of death and has gone back and entered whether the murderer was caught and their sentence. He documents everything factually as a professional, but there are two instances in which he lets his emotions show. The scrapbook itself is an engrossing historical document. Rather than Dunn's essay, I would have preferred a simple biography on the very little we know about Jack Huddleston and an historical essay on policing, crime scene photography of the era. The scrapbook itself is worth 5 stars the introduction brings this book down to 3 stars.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 2, 2015 – Shelved
May 2, 2015 – Finished Reading

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