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MURDER AT TEAL'S POND

HAZEL DREW AND THE MYSTERY THAT INSPIRED TWIN PEAKS

A so-so murder mystery best left for fans of Twin Peaks.

A pop-culture writer and podcaster attempt to solve a 120-year-old cold-case murder in upstate New York.

Bushman and Givens are in thrall to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, about which Bushman has written and Givens has devoted a podcast. On the TV show, a woman named Laura Palmer turns up dead, and it’s up to investigators and curious townies to examine a barrel of red herrings before hazarding a provisional truth. So it is with the case of Hazel Drew, “beautiful, blonde, and connected to a number of powerful men,” whose dreadfully swollen body was recovered from a pond not far from Troy, New York, in 1908. The real-life gruesomeness is classic Lynch territory, though more reminiscent of his film Blue Velvet than of the relatively civilized series. Investigators in the Drew case hazarded any number of guesses, many of which concerned the young woman’s character. Though from a hardscrabble background, with an alcoholic, chronically unemployed father, she had some money and nice things, and the conclusion was that she must have come by them by illicit means. The authors paint a detailed portrait of a police force—indeed, a whole city—riven by petty politics and undermined by corruption. They are also hopelessly bound to Twin Peaks. “Sand Lake, we found out, has twin peaks of its own: Perigo Hill, in the northeast corner of the town, and Oak Hill, near the center, each rising to an elevation of nine hundred feet,” they write, a point that contributes nothing to the tale. The looping narrative is dogged by other annoyances, including the authors’ habit of peppering the narrative with far too many rhetorical questions: “Where was Hazel going when she left Union Station on Monday, July 6? Where did she spend Monday night and Tuesday morning?” Their proposed solution stands up to reason, but by the time they arrive at it, readers could be forgiven for abandoning the chase.

A so-so murder mystery best left for fans of Twin Peaks.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2643-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


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  • National Book Award Finalist

Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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IN COLD BLOOD

"There's got to be something wrong with somebody who'd do a thing like that." This is Perry Edward Smith, talking about himself. "Deal me out, baby...I'm a normal." This is Richard Eugene Hickock, talking about himself. They're as sick a pair as Leopold and Loeb and together they killed a mother, a father, a pretty 17-year-old and her brother, none of whom they'd seen before, in cold blood. A couple of days before they had bought a 100 foot rope to garrote them—enough for ten people if necessary. This small pogrom took place in Holcomb, Kansas, a lonesome town on a flat, limitless landscape: a depot, a store, a cafe, two filling stations, 270 inhabitants. The natives refer to it as "out there." It occurred in 1959 and Capote has spent five years, almost all of the time which has since elapsed, in following up this crime which made no sense, had no motive, left few clues—just a footprint and a remembered conversation. Capote's alternating dossier Shifts from the victims, the Clutter family, to the boy who had loved Nancy Clutter, and her best friend, to the neighbors, and to the recently paroled perpetrators: Perry, with a stunted child's legs and a changeling's face, and Dick, who had one squinting eye but a "smile that works." They had been cellmates at the Kansas State Penitentiary where another prisoner had told them about the Clutters—he'd hired out once on Mr. Clutter's farm and thought that Mr. Clutter was perhaps rich. And this is the lead which finally broke the case after Perry and Dick had drifted down to Mexico, back to the midwest, been seen in Kansas City, and were finally picked up in Las Vegas. The last, even more terrible chapters, deal with their confessions, the law man who wanted to see them hanged, back to back, the trial begun in 1960, the post-ponements of the execution, and finally the walk to "The Corner" and Perry's soft-spoken words—"It would be meaningless to apologize for what I did. Even inappropriate. But I do. I apologize." It's a magnificent job—this American tragedy—with the incomparable Capote touches throughout. There may never have been a perfect crime, but if there ever has been a perfect reconstruction of one, surely this must be it.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 1965

ISBN: 0375507906

Page Count: 343

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1965

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