The Girls of Murder City by Douglas Perry
Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers who Inspired Chicago

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Synopsis

From the author of Eliot Ness, the gripping true story of the murders that inspired the iconic musical Chicago.

With a thrilling, fast-paced narrative, award-winning journalist Douglas Perry vividly captures the sensationalized circus atmosphere that gave rise to the concept of the celebrity criminal—and gave Chicago its most famous story. The Girls of Murder City recounts two scandalous, sex-fueled murder cases and how an intrepid "girl reporter" named Maurine Watkins turned the beautiful, media-savvy suspects—"Stylish Belva" and "Beautiful Beulah"—into the talk of the town. Fueled by rich period detail and a cast of characters who seemed destined for the stage, The Girls of Murder City is a crackling tale that simultaneously presents the freewheeling spirit of the Jazz Age and its sober repercussions.

 

About Douglas Perry

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DOUGLAS PERRY is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The San Jose Mercury News, The Oregonian, and Details. He is the online features editor for The Oregonian and the coauthor of The Sixteenth Minute: Life in the Aftermath of Fame. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
 
Published June 9, 2010 by Penguin Books. 323 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Girls of Murder City

Kirkus Reviews

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(One female inmate was likely saved from hanging simply by making herself look more attractive at a court appearance.) Perry also captures the hypercompetitive newspaper culture that fueled the alleged trend, following the cases through the eyes of Chicago Tribune reporter Maurine Watkins.

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BC Books

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Though subtitled "Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago," this concise and fascinating piece of social history by no means requires a familiarity with the Bob Fosse musical.

Aug 11 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girls of Murder City: Fam...

The Wall Street Journal

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But even Malm tried to look her best in court: All-male juries in Cook County at the time proved incapable of convicting pretty women of murder, so these accused killers worked hard getting dolled up while awaiting trial.

Aug 13 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girls of Murder City: Fam...

AV Club

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Between 1875 and 1920, 102 women were tried in Chicago’s Cook County for killing their husbands.

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The Washington Post

Once upon a time in Chicago, in the summer of 1924, too many women drank too much bad Prohibition booze and killed off so many of the men in their lives that it developed into a celebrity circus.

Aug 13 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girls of Murder City: Fam...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Like the hero of Jack Finney's Time and Again, who steeped himself so intensely in vintage surroundings that he became unmoored in time and slipped back to Victorian-era New York, so too might the unwary readers of Perry's book find themselves sucked willy-nilly back down the decades to 1920s...

Sep 06 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girls of Murder City: Fam...

Tampa Bay Times

As Douglas Perry exhaustively documents in The Girls of Murder City, Roxie and Velma are based on a pair of real murder defendants who stood trial in Chicago in the 1920s.

Oct 23 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girls of Murder City: Fam...

PopMatters

The verdict disgusted Watkins, who wrote, “Beulah Annan, whose pursuit of wine, men, and jazz music was interrupted by her glibness with the trigger finger, was given freedom last night by her ‘beauty-proof’ jury.” Before the year was through, Watkins would leave Chicago for the East Coast to wor...

Aug 24 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girls of Murder City: Fam...

Shelf Awareness

It gives me great hope, that kids can be so excited about books, and that they come in and tell each other about what they're reading.

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Open Salon

I h…” “Any time a person rads a news story about an appalling crime, especially if that…” December 02, 2011 09:57AM “I am officially jealous now.” December 02, 2011 09:38AM “"If the companies d hire the 50 somethings where does that leave the young p…” November 24, 2011 05:40PM ...

Mar 24 2011 | Read Full Review of The Girls of Murder City: Fam...

Newcity Lit

Known as Murder City in the Roaring Twenties, our fair city had another dubious distinction: it was home to Murderess’ Row, densely populated by women who killed their husbands and/or lovers.

Oct 18 2010 | Read Full Review of The Girls of Murder City: Fam...

Reader Rating for The Girls of Murder City
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