For the latest Book Menage sponsored by Citizen Reader, we are reading The Restless Sleep and The Borden Tragedy. Discussion will be starting the week of November 30, 2009. You still have time to read these!
The Geary book on The Borden Tragedy is wonderful. This is my second time to attempt a graphic novel* and I have come to realize that I read the text and have to remind myself to stop and look at the drawings. Though not an expert on the story of this crime, I very much remember the very scary movie when I was a child and was so shocked at that song.
“Lizzie Borden took an ax; gave her father 40 wacks…”
How could she do it? Oh yea, DID SHE? This book only gives facts and does not quite influence the reader to believe her guilt or her innocence. I really enjoyed the history and the research that Geary obviously poured into this project. I especially appreciate seeing the layout of the house – where the rooms are and how the members of the family typically accessed the rooms from which staircase. But the one thing that stands out the most is how little time passed between the last person (other than Lizzie) to see Dad alive and finding him slaughtered. To pull it off, she had to be violently quick and yet so carefully composed.
I live within 40 minutes of Fall River, Mass and I just might have to plan a little road trip to visit the house and cemetery. Anyone want to come along? (please? I don’t want to go by myself…) Also, must add that Mr Geary spent his childhood in Kansas City and Wichita, Kansas – my ‘home’ town. I love finding out silly little things like this that are totally unrelated to anything else.
I very much enjoyed the straightforward inquisitive style that Horn uses to present The Restless Sleep. I really do love nonfiction when we get to see the process from the author’s perspective – how she came to write THIS book and how she small-talked with the people she writes about. She sets up the book well – right off the bat we are pulled in to the concept and philosophy of death. Her words grab you by the heart and make you face the idea of dying by violence. She first invites us to consider each case with only a bit of background and structures each chapter to explore more deeply over the time involved. We are introduced to the victims of a specific unsolved crime and then we are drawn into more details of the investigation, way back when the case was fresh and how the latest detective attempts to catch the killer. Very well done, if maybe a bit too factual at times. I must say I was surprised but shouldn’t have been with the politics and procedures of police organization. And I was oddly comforted by the statistics; I’m not likely to be a murder victim in an unsolved case. But still, just typing that gives me the creeps.
* I have read Persepolis. The Borden Tragedy: A Memoir of the Infamous Double Murder at Fall River, Mass., 1892 (Treasury of Victorian Murder (Graphic Novels)), ComicsLit 1997, no page numbers in the book but goodreads.com says 80 pages.
** The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City’s Cold Case Squad by Stacy Horn, the edition I read was a Thorndike Press Large Print 2005, which might explain the 515 pages (567 with appendices) I couldn’t find an image of the cover from the edition I read, so I took a photo.
Both from the library and need to be returned. Hope I won’t need to reference when we get to the discussion.