The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers who Inspired Chicago
Chicago, 1924. There was nothing surprising about men turning up dead in the Second City. Life was cheaper than a quart of illicit gin in the gangland capital of the world. But two murders that spring were special—worthy of celebration. So believed Maurine Watkins, a wanna-be playwright and a... show more
Chicago, 1924. There was nothing surprising about men turning up dead in the Second City. Life was cheaper than a quart of illicit gin in the gangland capital of the world. But two murders that spring were special—worthy of celebration. So believed Maurine Watkins, a wanna-be playwright and a "girl reporter" for the Chicago Tribune, the city's "hanging paper." Newspaperwomen were supposed to write about clubs, cooking, and clothes, but the intrepid Miss Watkins, a minister's daughter from a small town, zeroed in on murderers instead. Looking for subjects to turn into a play, she would make "Stylish Belva" Gaertner and "Beautiful Beulah" Annan—both of whom had brazenly shot down their lovers—the talk of the town. Love-struck men sent flowers to the jail, and newly emancipated women sent impassioned letters to the newspapers. Soon more than a dozen women preened and strutted on "Murderesses' Row" as they awaited trial, desperate for the same attention that was being lavished on Maurine Watkins's favorites. In the tradition of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City and Karen Abbott's Sin in the Second City, Douglas Perry vividly captures Jazz Age Chicago and the sensationalized circus atmosphere that gave rise to the concept of the celebrity criminal. Fueled by rich period detail and enlivened by a cast of characters who seemed destined for the stage, The Girls of Murder City is crackling social history that simultaneously presents the freewheeling spirit of the age and its sober repercussions.
Publish date: August 5th 2010
Publisher: Tantor Media
Edition language: English
This book is nonfiction history that reports on a time in 1924-25 Chicago when the mutually reinforced interplay between news about several alleged murderesses and intense competition among the local newspapers combined to fire up public interest to an absurdly passionate level. The book then finish...
I really liked listening to this book. The reader affected this great "hard-boiled" reporter voice (at least that's what it sounded like to me) that really made it seem like I was listening to a newsreel. I also found that the media frenzy in the 1920s seemed very familiar to events that have happen...
I am much fonder of the musical Chicago than I probably should be. I/ve never seen it on stage, but the movie version came out at a time when...well, lets just say that a story about thwarted women who killed their men wasn't all that far-fetched to me, and I loved The Cell Block Tango (still d...
Read my full review here: http://cineastesbookshelf.blogspot.com/2010/08/review-girls-of-murder-city-by-douglas.html
This book totally blew my mind away! This is a true story which was recommended to me. I couldn't believe the story line without going into spoilers. It would have gotten 4 stars from me but I thought the story could have been tightened up some.