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Laura James
Detroit, Michigan
Newspaper reporter turned trial lawyer and historical true crime devotee.
Interests: history, journalism, true crime
Recent Activity
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Le mystère de Praslin est résolu. Après des années d'études aboutissant à un coup de génie, j'ai découvert le véritable mobile des crimes impliquant Théobald de Choiseul-Praslin, duc de Praslin et Fanny Sebastiani-Praslin, duchesse de Praslin. Cette nouvelle théorie du... Continue reading
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Bernard O'Donnell was a true crime essay writer whose work appeared in magazines and newspapers around the world in the middle of the 20th century. I recognized his name when I found this tattered old 1950s paperback collection of his... Continue reading
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"In revenge and in love woman is far more barbarous than man." - Nietzsche It is interesting to pull back from the study of individual cases to look at the broad patterns of crime and put the individuals in context.... Continue reading
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My brother the killer: a family story by Alix Sharkey [Amazon GoodReads B&N HarperCollins] is an absorbing and well-written memoir by a journalist who staggered from the blow of having his younger brother arrested for a shocking murder. The disappearance... Continue reading
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Here is another solid entry in the bourgeoning genre of FBI profiler memoirs. A killer by design: murderers, mindhunters, and my quest to decipher the criminal mind (Hachette 2021) is by Ann Wolbert Burgess. In an informal, at-the-next-barstool tone, she... Continue reading
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If there were a literary award for genre outliers, I might nominate Murder at Teal's Pond [Amazon Goodreads B&N] for the Barely True Crime Award because it manages to flout so many genre conventions in one short book. The premise... Continue reading
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Howard Engel, an award-winning mystery writer, studied true crime stories for years. Eventually his notebook reached a critical mass, resulting in this interesting book of curated true crime stories. The book is Crimes of passion: an unblinking look at murderous... Continue reading
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Murdered by his wife: An absorbing tale of crime and punishment in 18th-Century Massachusetts by Deborah Navas (University of Massachusetts Press, 1999) tells the story of black widow Bathsheba Spooner. It is one of my all-time favorite case studies and... Continue reading
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Advocates of Murder by Charles Boswell and Lewis Thompson (New York: Collier Books, 1962) is derivative; the authors did not cite their sources and added fictional flourishes, and their essay on a case I know well is full of mistakes.... Continue reading
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There seems to be a lot of confusion among authors, publishers, and audiences these days about what, exactly, is "true crime." So let's revisit the basic definition of "true crime." What is the "true crime genre" exactly? There is a... Continue reading
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“True Crime on Random” is what I call my favorite section of John King Books, a famous used book store – warehouse is more like it – the pride of Detroit. That’s where I found this old gem with its... Continue reading
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The Last Stone by Mark Bowden is a recommended study of a cold-case interrogation that took more than a year and solved the mystery. This title was my introduction to author Mark Bowden. (I'm behind on my research.) I was... Continue reading
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Death in the Tiergarten: Murder and Criminal Justice in the Kaiser's Berlin (Harvard Univ. Press 2004; WorldCat) is a really nice history of the courts of Berlin, Germany's capital since 1871. It stands out in the genre of court histories... Continue reading
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Some of the finest trial lawyers known to world history appeared in the defense of a murderess. Some were made famous by doing so. Others were already famous when they represented a femme fatale only to become forever famous (Hypereides,... Continue reading
In our recent interview with Harold Schechter on the true crime genre, a book by Ann Rule came up in the conversation. The book was about a case in Buffalo. I can't remember anything else about the story, and Google... Continue reading
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I liked the recommendations of this young true crime fan who put together a fantastic true crime reading list.... while simultaneously amusing me with the idea that the popularity of true crime is a new phenomenon. Ha! "Since the mid-2010’s,... Continue reading
Edgar Lustgarten is the greatest true crime narrator of all time. Here is my tribute and description of his books. But I can only find one tantalizing audio clip of the world's most famous true crime radio announcer. It's a... Continue reading
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Sir Henry Fielding Dickens, noted London barrister and son of Charles Dickens, became famous for his defense of an infamous femme fatale. Hear the crazy story of Kitty Byron on CLEWS! https://www.buzzsprout.com/.../9487899-dickens-for-the... #clews #truecrime #charlesdickens #henryfieldingdickens #dickens #kittybyron #femmesfatales #theoldbailey Continue reading
The first season of CLEWS: The Podcast is all about the world's worst femmes fatales. Barely a month old, and with only five episodes, CLEWS is already global. Besides the USA, we have listeners in Germany, Canada, the UK, India,... Continue reading
Our inaugural podcast interview is with Harold Schechter, whose first true crime book came out in 1990. Back in the day, true crime was mass market paperback and hard to find. You had to sneak to the back of the... Continue reading
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In her new book Murderesses in German writing, Susanne Kord (Chair of German, UCL) tells us that Dr. Zelle, speaking on the aesthetics of horror, concludes that the enjoyment of horror only becomes possible once the ethical dimension is neutralized.... Continue reading
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This Smithsonian oil painting is based on the true story of the 1656 Boston execution of "witch" Ann Hibbins. The woman who posed for the artist was her descendant, per the New York Historical Society. This descendant was at the... Continue reading
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Mr. Google was a character in the novel #Brainstorm from 1944 by New York magazine writer #CarltonBrown. #Google says it got its name from a "brainstorm"... hmmmm.... very suspicious, I'd say. From what I can tell, nobody has ever pointed... Continue reading
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When historical homicides were sorted by the time of the day at which they occurred, an interesting pattern emerged. In one sweeping study of homicides in New Spain (Mexico, California etc.) between 1747 and 1821, more than twice as many... Continue reading
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"I am a martyr to my own beauty. For any man to behold me is for him to love me. The whole pathway of my life is strewn with the bodies of those who loved me most." -Countess Marie Tarnowska... Continue reading
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