The Annals of Unsolved Crime by Edward Jay Epstein

This was a great read for me. Looking at what others thought in their reviews, this book appears to be one of those that you either love or hate and there is just no in between. I loved it. The author is an investigative journalist for Vanity Fair magazine. He looks at a series of crimes that were either unsolved, solved but had questions surrounding the final outcome or solved but not necessarily in a way that left people satisfied.

Each chapter discusses a crime. They range from Jack the Ripper to Marilyn Monroe; from DSK and his discreditation thus successfully barring him from becoming President of France to money laundering, theft and the mafia’s possible involvement in a Vatican conspiracy; political assassinations, headline crimes and conspiracies -the author touches on all including the well known and the unknown.

Some of the headline crimes that have been rehashed a thousand times in the media are treated more cursorily with the interesting part being the authors conclusion based on  research conducted by he and others. On the less well known cases, he goes into great detail in order to lead the reader through the ins and outs of the case. In all cases, the authors draws a conclusion about what he thinks has occurred and if the crime was satisfactorily solved or not.

At the end of the book, he offers a reading list for those interested in delving further into these crimes. I liked the book because there were crimes or aspects of crimes that I had never heard about or knew very little about. I loved the style because it was like reading a compendium of articles rather than a book with an ongoing narrative.

This style of compiling articles is what may throw some readers. Those looking for an ongoing narrative thread from story to story will not be satisfied. Although the author does group the crimes somewhat, these are basically stand alone stories – some short, some long. It should also be noted that this is not American centric. For people uninterested in crimes going on in other parts of the world, they might prefer to give this one a miss. For me, it was like a great cheese plate – lots of choices in different flavors and sizes from all over the world. A great book for crime buffs.

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