Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Midnight Assassin by Skip Hollandsworth

Time flies when you are having fun. Been off doing some non book things. Although, during that time, I managed to acquire some more books that I will be sharing here soon.

Meanwhile for our November Mystery Book Club (MBC) meeting we read:

The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer by Skip Hollandsworth.
It is a nonfiction book, so we were steering off our normal path, but it is certainly a mystery and we are located near the setting so that made it pretty interesting.

Here's what it's about:

"In the late 1800s, the city of Austin, Texas was on the cusp of emerging from an isolated western outpost into a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. But beginning in December 1884, Austin was terrorized by someone equally as vicious and, in some ways, far more diabolical than London's infamous Jack the Ripper. For almost exactly one year, the Midnight Assassin crisscrossed the entire city, striking on moonlit nights, using axes, knives, and long steel rods to rip apart women from every race and class. At the time the concept of a serial killer was unthinkable, but the murders continued, the killer became more brazen, and the citizens' panic reached a fever pitch.

Before it was all over, at least a dozen men would be arrested in connection with the murders, and the crimes would expose what a newspaper described as "the most extensive and profound scandal ever known in Austin." And yes, when Jack the Ripper began his attacks in 1888, London police investigators did wonder if the killer from Austin had crossed the ocean to terrorize their own city."

The MBC groups take: We all liked reading about the history of Austin; how the capital was built, the building of the Driskill hotel, the street names we are still familiar with, the family names that are still known around Austin, and the moonlight towers of which a few are still standing. We were all appalled at how investigations were done at that time. The police and anyone else, tromping through the crime scenes and disturbing any and all evidence, to the point even the hound dogs they brought in to try to track the killer, were so confused by the hundreds of smells, they were of no use.  We had to remind ourselves that this was 136 years ago. We couldn't believe that some people slept in the same room, while some of these murders took place. We were also appalled at the treatment of the African Americans. It was also unsettling as to how quickly the police were to name a suspect, bring him in and charge him with the crimes, keeping him locked up, and not treated well at all. They did that 12 times as if to blame someone, convict him, then all would be well. The book also shows the politics at the time. Many said nothing has changed in that area. lol

One of the group members gave us a head's up that there was a rerun of the History Detectives that did a show on this story also. Many of us were able to watch it. That was very interesting too. The History Detectives felt there was a likely suspect, but it was never proven. (I highly recommend History Detectives if it comes back or you get a chance to see any reruns. One of my favorites.)

We were all glad to have read it, and found it interesting, but the concensus was we are all fiction mystery lovers.

No comments:

Post a Comment