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1 Beaverton Crime- General

The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired "Chicago"

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The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired "Chicago" Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The true story of the murderesses who became media sensations and inspired the musical Chicago.

Chicago, 1924.

There was nothing surprising about men turning up dead in the Second City. Life was cheaper than a quart of illicit gin in the gangland capital of the world. But two murders that spring were special — worthy of celebration. So believed Maurine Watkins, a wanna-be playwright and a girl reporter for the Chicago Tribune, the city's hanging paper. Newspaperwomen were supposed to write about clubs, cooking and clothes, but the intrepid Miss Watkins, a minister's daughter from a small town, zeroed in on murderers instead. Looking for subjects to turn into a play, she would make Stylish Belva Gaertner and Beautiful Beulah Annan — both of whom had brazenly shot down their lovers — the talk of the town. Love-struck men sent flowers to the jail and newly emancipated women sent impassioned letters to the newspapers. Soon more than a dozen women preened and strutted on Murderesses' Row as they awaited trial, desperate for the same attention that was being lavished on Maurine Watkins's favorites.

In the tradition of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City and Karen Abbott's Sin in the Second City, Douglas Perry vividly captures Jazz Age Chicago and the sensationalized circus atmosphere that gave rise to the concept of the celebrity criminal. Fueled by rich period detail and enlivened by a cast of characters who seemed destined for the stage, The Girls of Murder City is crackling social history that simultaneously presents the freewheeling spirit of the age and its sober repercussions.

Review:

"This jaunty retrospective of two Jazz Age trials introduces us to the real-life originals of the killer ladies of the musical Chicago — and to the society that adored them. Journalist Perry (The Sixteenth Minute: Life in the Aftermath of Fame) revisits the 1924 cases of Belva Gaertner, a swanky divorce, and Beulah Annan, a beautiful married woman, both accused of shooting their lovers to death. They were the most photogenic on Cook County jail's 'Murderess' Row' of defendants in a spate of woman-on-man killings that inflamed the press and captivated a public grown bored with gangland murders. (Perry's third heroine is skeptical female reporter Maurine Watkins, who bemoaned the inability of all-male Chicago juries to convict killers with pretty faces.) The author gives an entertaining, wised-up rundown of the cases and the surrounding media hoopla, which the defendants and their lawyers cannily manipulated. (Annan hired a fashion consultant for court appearances and falsely declared herself pregnant to win sympathy.) Beneath the sensationalism, Perry finds anxieties about changing sex roles as feisty flappers and aggressive career women barged into public consciousness; his savvy, flamboyant social history illuminates a dawning age of celebrity culture. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"This is as much a book about journalism and social history as it is about crime....This is a well-researched, fast-paced story behind the story." Booklist (starred review)

Review:

"Consistently entertaining....A chronicle of the wild spring and summer of 1924, when Chicago was afflicted with a seeming epidemic of female murderers." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"For true crime buffs, history fans or anyone interested in the roaring 1920s, this one's a sure-fire hit." Minneapolis Star Tribune

Synopsis:

Perry vividly captures Jazz Age Chicago to tell the true story of the murderesses who became media sensations and inspired the musical Chicago.

Synopsis:

The true story of the murderesses who became media sensations and inspired the musical Chicago

Chicago, 1924.

There was nothing surprising about men turning up dead in the Second City. Life was cheaper than a quart of illicit gin in the gangland capital of the world. But two murders that spring were special - worthy of celebration. So believed Maurine Watkins, a wanna-be playwright and a "girl reporter" for the Chicago Tribune, the city's "hanging paper." Newspaperwomen were supposed to write about clubs, cooking and clothes, but the intrepid Miss Watkins, a minister's daughter from a small town, zeroed in on murderers instead. Looking for subjects to turn into a play, she would make "Stylish Belva" Gaertner and "Beautiful Beulah" Annan - both of whom had brazenly shot down their lovers - the talk of the town. Love-struck men sent flowers to the jail and newly emancipated women sent impassioned letters to the newspapers. Soon more than a dozen women preened and strutted on "Murderesses' Row" as they awaited trial, desperate for the same attention that was being lavished on Maurine Watkins's favorites.

In the tradition of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City and Karen Abbott's Sin in the Second City, Douglas Perry vividly captures Jazz Age Chicago and the sensationalized circus atmosphere that gave rise to the concept of the celebrity criminal. Fueled by rich period detail and enlivened by a cast of characters who seemed destined for the stage, The Girls of Murder City is crackling social history that simultaneously presents the freewheeling spirit of the age and its sober repercussions.

Synopsis:

The true story of the murderesses who became media sensations and inspired the musical Chicago

Chicago, 1924.

There was nothing surprising about men turning up dead in the Second City. Life was cheaper than a quart of illicit gin in the gangland capital of the world. But two murders that spring were special - worthy of celebration. So believed Maurine Watkins, a wanna-be playwright and a "girl reporter" for the Chicago Tribune, the city's "hanging paper." Newspaperwomen were supposed to write about clubs, cooking and clothes, but the intrepid Miss Watkins, a minister's daughter from a small town, zeroed in on murderers instead. Looking for subjects to turn into a play, she would make "Stylish Belva" Gaertner and "Beautiful Beulah" Annan - both of whom had brazenly shot down their lovers - the talk of the town. Love-struck men sent flowers to the jail and newly emancipated women sent impassioned letters to the newspapers. Soon more than a dozen women preened and strutted on "Murderesses' Row" as they awaited trial, desperate for the same attention that was being lavished on Maurine Watkins's favorites.

In the tradition of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City and Karen Abbott's Sin in the Second City, Douglas Perry vividly captures Jazz Age Chicago and the sensationalized circus atmosphere that gave rise to the concept of the celebrity criminal. Fueled by rich period detail and enlivened by a cast of characters who seemed destined for the stage, The Girls of Murder City is crackling social history that simultaneously presents the freewheeling spirit of the age and its sober repercussions.

About the Author

Douglas Perry is co-author of The Sixteenth Minute: Life in the Aftermath of Fame. An award-winning writer and editor, his work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, The Oregonian, Details, and many other publications. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit www.douglasperry.net.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780670021970
Subtitle:
Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago
Author:
Perry, Douglas
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Murder - General
Subject:
United States - State & Local - Midwest
Subject:
United States - 20th Century/20s
Subject:
Murder - Illinois - Chicago - History
Subject:
Women murderers - Illinois - Chicago -
Subject:
Crime - True Crime
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20110726
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8-page b/w photo insert; 2 b/w photos on
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9.13x6.34x1.11 in. 1.16 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Crime » General
History and Social Science » Crime » Mobs and Organized Crime
History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired "Chicago" Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Viking Books - English 9780670021970 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This jaunty retrospective of two Jazz Age trials introduces us to the real-life originals of the killer ladies of the musical Chicago — and to the society that adored them. Journalist Perry (The Sixteenth Minute: Life in the Aftermath of Fame) revisits the 1924 cases of Belva Gaertner, a swanky divorce, and Beulah Annan, a beautiful married woman, both accused of shooting their lovers to death. They were the most photogenic on Cook County jail's 'Murderess' Row' of defendants in a spate of woman-on-man killings that inflamed the press and captivated a public grown bored with gangland murders. (Perry's third heroine is skeptical female reporter Maurine Watkins, who bemoaned the inability of all-male Chicago juries to convict killers with pretty faces.) The author gives an entertaining, wised-up rundown of the cases and the surrounding media hoopla, which the defendants and their lawyers cannily manipulated. (Annan hired a fashion consultant for court appearances and falsely declared herself pregnant to win sympathy.) Beneath the sensationalism, Perry finds anxieties about changing sex roles as feisty flappers and aggressive career women barged into public consciousness; his savvy, flamboyant social history illuminates a dawning age of celebrity culture. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "This is as much a book about journalism and social history as it is about crime....This is a well-researched, fast-paced story behind the story."
"Review" by , "Consistently entertaining....A chronicle of the wild spring and summer of 1924, when Chicago was afflicted with a seeming epidemic of female murderers."
"Review" by , "For true crime buffs, history fans or anyone interested in the roaring 1920s, this one's a sure-fire hit."
"Synopsis" by , Perry vividly captures Jazz Age Chicago to tell the true story of the murderesses who became media sensations and inspired the musical Chicago.
"Synopsis" by ,

The true story of the murderesses who became media sensations and inspired the musical Chicago

Chicago, 1924.

There was nothing surprising about men turning up dead in the Second City. Life was cheaper than a quart of illicit gin in the gangland capital of the world. But two murders that spring were special - worthy of celebration. So believed Maurine Watkins, a wanna-be playwright and a "girl reporter" for the Chicago Tribune, the city's "hanging paper." Newspaperwomen were supposed to write about clubs, cooking and clothes, but the intrepid Miss Watkins, a minister's daughter from a small town, zeroed in on murderers instead. Looking for subjects to turn into a play, she would make "Stylish Belva" Gaertner and "Beautiful Beulah" Annan - both of whom had brazenly shot down their lovers - the talk of the town. Love-struck men sent flowers to the jail and newly emancipated women sent impassioned letters to the newspapers. Soon more than a dozen women preened and strutted on "Murderesses' Row" as they awaited trial, desperate for the same attention that was being lavished on Maurine Watkins's favorites.

In the tradition of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City and Karen Abbott's Sin in the Second City, Douglas Perry vividly captures Jazz Age Chicago and the sensationalized circus atmosphere that gave rise to the concept of the celebrity criminal. Fueled by rich period detail and enlivened by a cast of characters who seemed destined for the stage, The Girls of Murder City is crackling social history that simultaneously presents the freewheeling spirit of the age and its sober repercussions.

"Synopsis" by ,

The true story of the murderesses who became media sensations and inspired the musical Chicago

Chicago, 1924.

There was nothing surprising about men turning up dead in the Second City. Life was cheaper than a quart of illicit gin in the gangland capital of the world. But two murders that spring were special - worthy of celebration. So believed Maurine Watkins, a wanna-be playwright and a "girl reporter" for the Chicago Tribune, the city's "hanging paper." Newspaperwomen were supposed to write about clubs, cooking and clothes, but the intrepid Miss Watkins, a minister's daughter from a small town, zeroed in on murderers instead. Looking for subjects to turn into a play, she would make "Stylish Belva" Gaertner and "Beautiful Beulah" Annan - both of whom had brazenly shot down their lovers - the talk of the town. Love-struck men sent flowers to the jail and newly emancipated women sent impassioned letters to the newspapers. Soon more than a dozen women preened and strutted on "Murderesses' Row" as they awaited trial, desperate for the same attention that was being lavished on Maurine Watkins's favorites.

In the tradition of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City and Karen Abbott's Sin in the Second City, Douglas Perry vividly captures Jazz Age Chicago and the sensationalized circus atmosphere that gave rise to the concept of the celebrity criminal. Fueled by rich period detail and enlivened by a cast of characters who seemed destined for the stage, The Girls of Murder City is crackling social history that simultaneously presents the freewheeling spirit of the age and its sober repercussions.

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