THE MURDER AND THE TRIAL by Edgar Lustgarten
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Analysis, precis, and reappraisal of some 17 criminal cases, dating from the Victorian to the Edwardian to World War II, provide excellent -- and at times elegant -- reading for the fancier of true incidents. Lustgarten, who has gained a reputation for criminal documentation in the manner of Roughead or Pearson, displays a sense of the atmosphere of a trial and of the forensic combat in the legal arena, the ability to distinguish between the nature of the criminal and that of the victim, to examine the verdict for doubt and/or approval, -- again, in very short to much longer essays, essays that balance which marks the person on trial as innocent or guilty. Three of these are transcripts of BBC radio broadcasts and include his findings on Lizzie Borden (the only American entry); others deal with a forger in the Parnell case, some race track illegalities, killings of prostitutes, wives, husbands, poisonings, slayings, and even death by starvation... These close looks on (mostly) hanging matters re-create the characters and spirit of judge, jury, advocates -- and prisoner in most able fashion.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1958
Publisher: Scribner