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Edmund Lester Pearson, bookman, librarian, and true crime writer, has been out of print since 1937. This collection of his true crime reports, which appeared in the leading magazines of his day-- The New Yorker, Forum, Vanity Fair and American Mercury-- have been collected here and the editor has supplied an essay that provides new insight into the controversy over the Lizzie Borden case. Pearson has made this case especially his own, publishing book length and essay length speculations on Lizzie's guilt (of which he was convinced). In 1961, Edward D. Radin published his Lizzie Borden: The Untold Story (1961, p. 295). In it, he accused Pearson of perpetrating a literary hoax in reporting fictitiously the minutes of the official Borden trial. Pearson, though long since dead and out-of-print, continues to hold his place in true crime circles, and Radin's charge caused much debate. Here then, are 20 essays of a murder connoisseur. Pearson wanted no truck with the crime passionel-- he preferred premeditated affairs. Failing this, he wanted defendants who beclouded all issues with panicky lies. He went back into his books to the 17th century for his specimens and came forward in time to his own day. His style was acidly literate wit delivered with a precise use of words. He approved of the death penalty (he was a creature of his own times) as an integral part of a stately dance-- violent death, trial, justice followed by execution. The pieces are short and sharp.

Pub Date: May 28th, 1963
Publisher: Little, Brown