Second City Sinners: True Crime from Historic Chicago’s Deadly Streets

Jon Seidel. Lyons, $24.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4930-3845-9
Chicago Sun-Times reporter Seidel has gathered the stories of the Windy City’s most notorious 19th- and 20th-century murderers, from the Haymarket Affair in 1886 to Richard Speck’s horrific murder of eight student nurses in 1966, in this earnest, well-researched crime collection. The author covers a number of now obscure cases, including that of the merry murderesses Beulah Annan (“Chicago’s prettiest slayer”) and Belva Gaertner (the “chic divorcée”), whose crimes inspired police beat reporter Maurine Watkins’s 1926 play Chicago, which was subsequently turned into a perennially popular musical. Another highlight is “Terrible Tommy” O’Connor’s daring prison escape, which became the basis for the 1928 Broadway play The Front Page. Some readers may wish that Seidel devoted less space to such prominent gangsters as Al Capone and John Dillinger and more to lesser-known but no less deadly villains. Newspaper quotes from the 20th century’s early decades enliven the text, demonstrating “a style of crime reporting that is at once anachronistic and beautiful” and which gave way, later in the century, to much less colorful coverage. True crime buffs will find plenty to enjoy. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/17/2019
Release date: 09/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 336 pages - 978-1-4930-3846-6
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