NONFICTION

The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the Century

304p. bibliog. ebook available. index. notes. photos. Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553498080; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780553498097.
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RedReviewStarGr 7 Up—Lizzie Borden: the name alone conjures up the legendary story of a daughter who brutally hacked her parents to death with an axe. And yet, as this thoroughly researched account demonstrates, the story is far more complicated. Miller untangles a complex story of a misunderstood young woman, difficult family dynamics, sensationalized news stories, bungling detectives, and more. Borden's father and stepmother were murdered with an axe or hatchet of some kind while both Borden and the family housekeeper were at home. The evidence against Borden was circumstantial at best and nonexistent at worst. Nonetheless, she was indicted for the crime and sent to jail for the duration of the investigation and succeeding trial. Miller carefully walks readers through the cast of characters, the mores and customs of the time, legal procedures, varying newspaper accounts, and the enormous amount of gossip that all became part of the landscape surrounding this crime. Extensive use of primary source documents reveals that much is still not known about the case. Fans of the podcast Serial will find much to enjoy here, as each chapter reveals a new piece of the puzzle and examines it from every angle available. Photographs, documents, and other ephemera are included and round out the narrative, creating a wonderfully full and accessible account of this moment in history.
VERDICT Though readers will know the outcome of the trial from the very beginning, they will be invested in the narrative. Sure to be a hit with true crime fans everywhere.

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