The Girls of Murder City
3 journalers for this copy...
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The author's description of the ambiance on the newspapers', jails, court rooms and up to an extend the whole Chicago city on the 1920s was very decent, while the two central stories around two murderesses were interesting. Of course here comes the usual issue with non-fiction books: It's difficult to know how precise is the author's take on things, not so much due to lack of research or intenionally muddling the waters, but because bias come into play and the interpretation of events, situations and personalities can never be completely objective.
I think that Douglas Perry researched a lot on his subject, but sometimes the narration was a bit off. There are many backs and forths in time and mentioning of irrelevant people that confuse a reader. For example there might be a name thrown there among the residents of the county jail, who at the time interacted so and so with the main protagonists of the story, but explanation for who this person is might come many chapters latter and not very analytically either. Even the life stories of the main characters feature many gaps.
I found two large flaws to the book: Too little info on persons who are supposed to matter and too much rambling on persons and incidents that are supposed not to matter. If the author's focus is the Chicago play, he should have been much more detailed on the life story and personality of its writter, Maurine Watkins. Information on her past before arriving to Chicago is epigrammatic, her life style outside her work while in Chicago is not clear, while towards the final chapters of the book, the descriptions of her life after writting the play and gaining fame are too eliptical too. On the other hand, the author doesn't focus his narration on the incidents and people who inspired the play, but strays to other stories and irrelevant stuff too. Personally I found these references interesting, but the author had either to omit these all together, either to write about them in full details (other suspect murderesses' life stories, other murder cases, reporters crossing paths with Maurine at the time etc)
All in all, an interesting book due to subject matter, but the writing style didn't make it justice on my opinion.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Thanks for granting this wish, Delphi-Reader, I have been interested in this book since I read that "Chicago" was based on it. I have seen the play when I lived in London, in the West End version with Ruthie Henshall and Ute Lemper... and Sacha Distel as Billy Flynn. The movie was fine, though it lacked the great choreography by Bob Fosse.
Looking forward to reading this one! :)