MURDERERS SANE AND MAD by Miriam Allen deFord


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These are, in effect, case histories of some of the more notorious murderers of contemporary history. In this compilation of a series of fact crime articles originally published in various crime magazines, the progression is a ""downhill excursion from sanity to insanity among murderers,"" but Miss Ford's quiet comments indicate her belief that no murderer is a sane murderer; the McNaughton rule that awareness of right and wrong constitutes sanity is archaic; and (under-riding it all) capital punishment is a crime. Each case is minutely examined and sympathetically handled. Among those that the Law has declared ""sane"" are Louise Peete, a prison grande dame who spent the time during her trial for a double murder reading (The Importance of Living; 18-year-old Penny Bjorkland who hunted humans in the hills and pronounced herself ""a normal average girl""; the tragic compulsive Barbara (I Want to Live) Graham. Included in the ""mad"" section are the amoral experimenters Leopold and Loeb; William Heirens who wrote ""For heavens sake catch me before I kill more. I cannot control myself""; and England's Milquetoast-type slaughterer John ""Corpus"" Christie. The final study is of a lynching known as the ""patriotism"" of San Jose. Thoroughly researched and skillfully handled.

Pub Date: April 29th, 1965
Publisher: Abelard-Schuman