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The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crimes

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With over 60 crime-related reference titles to his credit, Newton is well qualified to produce this significant update of the 2004 first edition of his A-to-Z work. It covers over 800 unsolved crimes from the 19th century to the present, primarily in the United States. The majority of the crimes are murders, but other types are covered as well, including disappearances, major heists, and kidnappings. The author defines an unsolved crime as one in which there is no suspect, the suspect was released for lack of evidence, the suspect was wrongly convicted or acquitted, or the official verdict remains controversial. Entries are titled by victim's name, geographical location, or popular media label (e.g., Zodiac Killer) and vary from a single paragraph to four pages for some famous cases (JonBenet Ramsey, the Black Dahlia, Kaspar Hauser), although others equally as famous get relatively short shrift (Jimmy Hoffa). The entries provide a succinct description, often graphic but not lurid, of the crime, its context, and its investigation. Given the vast number of such unsolved crimes worldwide, it would have been useful for the author to describe his criteria for inclusion. It is also perplexing that entry titles fittingly identify individuals murdered during the U.S. Civil Rights Movement as civil rights martyrs, while lynching victims are identified as murder victims although the entries accurately describe the racially motivated killings and flagrant coverups and miscarriages of justice. Bottom Line Writers of crime novels and TV police procedurals will find much plot material here, but otherwise it's hard to envision an audience. Buy where demand warrants.-Nadine Cohen, Univ. of Georgia Lib., Athens Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

"...[a] worthy addition to any collection... The writing here is crisp and clean, offering plenty of detail without melodrama." - VOYA "...useful..." - American Reference Books Annual"

Gr 9 Up-Nash's massive set places what he considers to be "the most important crimes in history" into graspable categories: assassination; bigamy; burglary; cannibalism; drugs; fraud; gangs, gangsters and organized crime; kidnapping; piracy; robbery; and secret criminal societies. Murder is broken down into celebrity slayings, mass murder, serial killers, and unsolved homicides. Each of these topical sections opens with a general overview and then explores individual crimes in chronological order. As befits the title, there are thousands of black-and-white photographs and illustrations and although their quality varies they are, by and large, helpful and interesting. Information on criminals' backgrounds and descriptions of the act(s) for which they gained notoriety are included. The bibliography is almost 100 pages of very small print, yet despite this apparent copious research, many quotes and scenarios are not clearly substantiated, and individual articles do not include citations. The author is bold in advancing his own opinions and theories, developed over years of studying and writing about crime. While these perspectives are often fascinating, they lead this work away from the status of a definitive history. It is, however, the most comprehensive true crime book available. Newton, conversely, has produced a succinct, poorly illustrated title that, while relating two centuries of worldwide cases that remain unsolved as of publication date, is fair and balanced in regard to its approximately 540 alphabetical entries. Black-and-white photos and reproductions illustrate this book. A six-page bibliography includes articles, books, and Web sites.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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