Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Butchery on Bond Street

The American 19th century, and particularly the crimes of the 19the century, is being revisited by a number of authors. The Devil in the White City, Sin in the Second City, and the Murder of Helen Jewett showed us their was more to pre-World War 1 era than the Civil War. In Butchery on Bond Street, former attorney Benjamin Feldman considers the murder of Harvey Burdell and the trial of Emma Cunningham for the murder.

Burdell and Cunningham were lovers, so she was quickly blamed as the killer. In detailing the lead up to the murder and the trail Feldman shows the unfortunate fate of women who lacked a husband or family to support them. When you add in the corrupt and often lawless nature of mid-century New York City, Cunningham truly had the deck stacked against her.

Feldman conducted extensive primary research which allows him to give a detailed view of the press and society frenzy that surrounded the case. His legal background serves him well here. This book will appeal to fans of New York history and to crime shows. It seems our national lust for crime theater, in art and in real life, is nothing new.

2 comments:

Citizen Reader said...

This sounds intriguing--was it better than "The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher"?

Tripp said...

Didn't read it, so I cannot say, but I would think that given your true crime predilection, it might work for you. It takes awhile to get going, so be aware.