Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Great True Stories of Crime, Mystery & Detection: Review

Great True Stories of Crime, Mystery & Detection (1965) is a collection of supposedly factual stories edited by the Reader's Digest Association and written by a variety of authors. It includes accounts of  famous crimes and criminals such as the assassination of President Lincoln and the capture of Al Capone as well as lesser-known stories of a murderous Harvard professor, the Great Portuguese Bank-Note Swindle, and the secrets of a Soviet assassin among others. It covers everything from forgery to kidnapping to murder and it also includes tales with supernatural overtones.

These "true" stories are told in such an informal, anecdotal manner that it is really difficult to take them seriously. Especially those that involve ghostly goings-on (which apparently fits under the broad mystery category). I also had the feeling that I had read some of these accounts before in books aimed at children--the story about John Wilkes Booth especially brought my elementary school library to mind. Perhaps it's the illustrations found among the stories; because they also remind me of those Alfred Hitchcock collections that I used read when I was young. The writing is very simplistic (far more simplistic than I remembered from Reader's Digest stories) and there is little investigative features to the reports. If someone is looking for bare-bones stories of true crime in very basic language then this is a book for them. ★★ and a half.

[Finished 8/22/18]

Even though I don't think I'd personallycount the supernatural tales as true stories of crime, mystery or detection, I am totally counting this as the True Crime entry for the PopSugar Challenge--after all, who am I to argue with Reader's Digest?

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