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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 Island of Sea Women
Lisa See
The Deep
Alma Katsu
Progress: 73 %
Dear Life: Stories
Alice Munro
Progress: 175/336 pages
Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison
Progress: 28 %
The Mystery at Lilac Inn
Carolyn Keene
100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories
Gary Raisor, Richard Chizmar, Al Sarrantonio, Avram Davidson
Progress: 70/512 pages
Leading Change
John P. Kotter
Peanuts Classics
Charles M. Schulz
Progress: 66 %
The Bungalow Mystery
Carolyn Keene
Progress: 192/192 pages
The Bungalow Mystery #3
Carolyn Keene
Progress: 192/192 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.