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SheriC

Portable Magic

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

The Hidden Staircase
Carolyn Keene
The Mayor of Casterbridge
Thomas Hardy
Progress: 36 %
Flowers for Algernon
Daniel Keyes
Progress: 289/311 pages

The Midnight Assassin ★★★★★

The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer - Skip Hollandsworth

It seems amazing that I’ve never heard of this string of attacks and murders in Austin, although I seem to recall hearing of the legend of the mysterious woman in white (apparently the ghost of the murdered Eula) when I was a student at UT. Or maybe from my visits to my grandparents in Austin as a kid?

 

The author does an excellent job of presenting the events and his research findings objectively. The narrative is not at all dry – it’s engaging while paying the reader the compliment of avoiding sensationalism and emotional manipulation. I was as fascinated by the story of historical Austin, its people and growth and politics and race relations, as I was by the mystery of the attacks. The insight into the process (and limits) of 19th century forensics, law enforcement, and justice, was compelling as well.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. Clint Jordan provides an excellent performance with an authentic regional voice, although his mispronunciation of a few place names was a little distracting. For example, Seguin is “suh-GEEN”, not “SEG-win”. The author reads the afterword in his own voice, which is even more authentically, delightfully, regional.

 

Update:

I gave the hardcover copy to my Dad for his birthday. The bound copy is full of goodies, like maps and photos, and contains a reference index. My dad, a native Austinite, is also a history buff who particularly loves the late 1800s, and was so delighted with this book that he also sent a copy to his brother.