cover image The Trial of Lizzie Borden: A True Story

The Trial of Lizzie Borden: A True Story

Cara Robertson. Simon & Schuster, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5011-6837-6

Lawyer Robertson debuts with the definitive account to date of one of America’s most notorious and enduring murder mysteries. In August 1892, the bodies of Lizzie Borden’s father, Andrew, and her stepmother, Abby, were found hacked to death in their home in Fall River, Mass. As the murders were committed during daylight, when the house was occupied by Lizzie, who lived there along with her sister, she became an obvious person of interest. Strong circumstantial evidence showing that Lizzie alone had the opportunity to commit the crimes—along with testimony that she’d attempted to buy prussic acid the day before and that she’d burned a dress after the killings—led to her arrest. The absence of a clear motive, any prior history of violence, and the difficulty many had in viewing the respectable churchgoing Lizzie as a savage killer proved obstacles to widespread acceptance of the prosecution’s case, and Lizzie was acquitted after a trial. Robertson methodically rebuts the numerous theories advanced at the time and since, some of which pointed to other members of the household. The end result is a superior, page-turning true crime narrative that will leave most readers believing that the jury got it wrong. Agent: Tina Bennett, WME. [em](Mar.) [/em]