The Infamous Harry Hayward: A True Account of Murder and Mesmerism in Gilded Age Minneapolis

Shawn Francis Peters. Univ. of Minnesota, $18.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-5179-0375-6
This dramatic account of the 1894 murder of Minneapolis dressmaker Catherine Ging focuses on Harry Hayward, who orchestrated her murder and whom famed detective William Pinkerton described as “one of the greatest criminals the world has ever seen.” University of Wisconsin–Madison professor Peters (The Catonsville Nine) provides a comprehensive account of Hayward’s trial and eventual execution for Ging’s murder, which garnered national media attention during the peak of yellow journalism in America, with newspapers printing shocking details of the murder in which Ging was shot point-blank in the head. It didn’t take long for the police to determine that Hayward was the mastermind and had coerced a man into killing Ging so Hayward could collect on an insurance policy he’d taken out on her. The book unfolds as a play-by-play of the seven-week trial and reads much like the sensationalist reporting of the events at the time: witnesses’ eyes darken with intensity on the stand, the courtroom erupts in applause, attorneys slump in their chairs. The end result is an entertaining tale of crime and punishment from Minnesota’s gilded age and a great episode from the annals of yellow journalism. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/05/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-1-4529-5711-1
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