Monday, January 13, 2014

Review: The Girls of Murder City

The Girls of Murder City is an account of the real life events that led to the inspiration behind Chicago, one of the most popular musicals in Broadway history. Although the book features the murderesses who became famous during a particularly troublesome time in Chicago history, the timeline is built around Maurine Watkins, a bold young woman who comes to Chicago chasing a dream: to become a field reporter. As Maurine makes her way into the chaotic world that is Chicago homicide, she finds that unlike many of her female colleagues, she has a real talent for reporting the news stories as she sees them, not as the lawyers of these beautiful killers portray them. Her wit and sarcasm earn her a spot as a top reporter for female homicides. As the stories unfold, we can recognize moments of Chicago as they were actually said during the trials, and we follow Maurine's story until years after Chicago has made her famous. 

I picked up this book as a precursor to my first trip to the city of Chicago. I thought it would give me some great background knowledge on the city in its heyday, as well as be one of those history books that pulls you as if it were a novel. I actually lost interest at several points throughout the book, and the most interesting points to me were ones that could have been elaborated on much more. I think I was most fascinated by the case of the Millionaire Murderers, who actually had little to do with the narrative, except that Maurine covered the story. I would love to find a book on that case. I did like the look into Ms. Watkins' articles, as her writing was charming and I loved that she saw through the public facades of these women. What bothered me the most was the ditzy personalities of the murderesses. Maurine's sarcastic comments about their dramatic testimonies reflected my own could these juries have been so gullible? In any case, some of the stories were interesting, and I did have fun imagining my self in the city as if it were in that day. There was something glamorous about the whole scene, but I'd much rather stick to the movie soundtrack than trudge through this book again. 

Bottom Line Rating: 2/5

Title: The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago
Author: Douglas Perry
Publisher: Viking, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-670-02197-0
Format: Hardcover
Price: $25.95 (I paid $5.95)
Source: University Store
Genre: History, Non-Fiction
Book # 57 of 2013

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