cover image No Place like Murder: True Crime in the Midwest

No Place like Murder: True Crime in the Midwest

Janice Thornton. Quarry, $20 trade paper (270p) ISBN 978-0-25305-278-0

Drawing on newspaper records and government archives, Thornton (Too Good a Girl) brings to vivid life 20 grisly crimes that were committed between 1869 and 1950 in the Midwest. One of the more sensational crimes was the slaughter of the Agrue family on their Indiana farm in 1941. Virginius Carter had a strange relationship with the family, having been married to two of the daughters. Carter’s first wife hated him, but her sister, his second wife, was still in love with him when he was accused of the shotgun murder of their parents, two brothers, and an 11-year-old niece for no apparent reason. He confessed, but then denied he killed the family in court. He was convicted and died in the electric chair. Another killer was Don Snider, accused of poisoning his wife, daughter, and the family dog in 1876. He was tried three times and sent to prison for life, but served only 17 years before being pardoned. In 1920, Snider’s second wife died in a suspicious fire, and he himself died nine years later when he was hit by a train. Thornton expertly marshals all the salient lurid details in these and the 18 other cases she chronicles. True crime fans will be well satisfied. (Sept.)