Narrator: William Dufris
Length: 9 Hours 43 Minutes
Published by Crown on April 24th 2012
Genres: True Crime, Murder, General, Serial Killers
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“No writer better articulates ourinterest in the confluence of hope, eccentricity, and the timelessness of the bold and strange than Paul Collins.”—DAVE EGGERS
On Long Island, a farmer finds a duck pond turned red with blood. On the Lower East Side, two boys playing at a pier discover a floating human torso wrapped tightly in oilcloth. Blueberry pickers near Harlem stumble upon neatly severed limbs in an overgrown ditch. Clues to a horrifying crime are turning up all over New York, but the police are baffled: There are no witnesses, no motives, no suspects.
The grisly finds that began on the afternoon of June 26, 1897, plunged detectivesheadlong into the era's most baffling murder mystery. Seized upon by battling media moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, the case became a publicity circus. Reenactments of the murder were staged in Times Square, armed reporters lurked in the streets of Hell's Kitchen in pursuit of suspects, and an unlikely trio—a hard-luck cop, a cub reporter, and an eccentric professor—all raced to solve the crime.
What emerged was a sensational love triangle and an even more sensational trial: an unprecedented capital case hinging on circumstantial evidence around a victim whom the police couldn't identify with certainty, and who the defense claimed wasn't even dead. The Murder of the Century is a rollicking tale—a rich evocation of America during the Gilded Age and a colorful re-creation of the tabloid wars that have dominated media to this day.
From the Hardcover edition.
Why Did I Listen To The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars by Paul Collins?
Wow, that is like the longest title of all time. So, I bought The Murder Of The Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized A City and Sparked The Tabloid Wars by Paul Collins back in 2012 and am just now listening to it, because as you saw on my previous review, my secret shame is owning a ton of audiobooks on Audible and not ever listening to them. I began The Murder Of The Century because I honestly cannot get enough of true crime stories. I think that Making A Murderer just set something off inside me and now, it is like I want everything in the genre. Also, historical crimes are just so interesting – how did they even solve cases without DNA? So, yes, this was a listen that was perfect for my commutes this past week.
What’s The Story Here?
The Murder Of The Century opens up with the find of some body parts in the river by some boys. The police at first blamed it on medical students getting rid of a cadaver. But then, it turns out that no — it was not medical students. Instead, it was MURDER. And this is where it gets good – these two rival newspapers pick up on it. One owned by William Randolph Hearst and the other owned by Pulitzer. I am blanking on his first name. So, anyways, the newspapers begin to compete with each other using the mystery and the story to sell papers. No one knows who the body is. Eventually, the body is identified and it’s this guy called Goldensuppe. The two papers then offer monetary rewards to whoever gets the theory of who did it right. The amount of money offered was staggering for the time. Anyways, come to find out, it was a German midwife who performs abortions named Augusta Nack and Martin Thorn, who was basically her lover. Goldensuppe, FYI, was identified by his penis. SCANDAL.
So beyond the whole solving of the murder and the trial, this book really explores yellow journalism. For me, it made the subject much more than a term they stress in history class. It made me think about how the press was really able to fan people’s flames and passions. I kind of liked reading about how much of a stir they caused and also what all goes into getting a story and a scoop.
How Did I Like This Audiobook?
Paul Collins’ The Murder Of The Century was quite the awesome listen. I loved all the different elements – from the discovery of the body, to the unraveling of what happened and the mystery to the court trial to the what happened to all of the main players in this book. I thought this was well paced and well written. Collins does a great job tying everything together. Also, this has just made my appetite grow for more true crime, so now I am listening to The Girls Of Murder City.
Who Would I Recommend The Murder Of The Century To?
- Making A Murderer fans who also like history
- People interested in the history of journalism — especially during the Gilded age
How’s The Narration?
The Murder Of The Century is narrated by William Dufris. This isn’t my first time listening to a book narrated by Dufris. I thought he did an excellent job with the audiobook. He even did accents for the different people who had immigrated to America from various countries. I did not find myself bored or spacing out. I thought that Dufris was an appropriate narrator for this book.
Sum It Up With A GIF:
The suspects were DEFINITELY guilty. No shadow of a doubt.
Other reviews of The Murder Of The Century by Paul Collins:
Book Journey – “Fans of true crime I think will enjoy this”
The Book Shark – “one of the best nonfiction books I have read in years”
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