A Civil War veteran who perpetrated one of the most ghastly mass slaughters in the annals of U.S. crime. A nineteenth-century female serial killer whose victims included three husbands and six of her own children. A Gilded Age “Bluebeard” who did away with as many as fifty wives throughout the country. A decorated World War I hero who orchestrated a murder that stunned Jazz Age America. While other infamous homicides from the same eras—the Lizzie Borden slayings, for example, or the “thrill killing” committed by Leopold and Loeb—have entered into our cultural mythology, these four equally sensational crimes have largely faded from public memory. A quartet of gripping historical true-crime narratives, Butcher’s Work restores these once-notorious cases to vivid, dramatic life.
“Harold Schechter is America’s dean of true crime, plundering the darkest corners of our history, and with this collection he delivers again. These tales take on the quality of campfire ghost stories—absorbing, chilling, and hard to forget.”—Robert Kolker, New York Times bestselling author, Lost Girls
“Master of true crime, Harold Schechter offers a macabre smorgasbord of long-forgotten misdeeds. Each story—about a mass axe murderer, a ‘poison fiend,’ a prolific Bluebeard killer, and a scheming war veteran—shines a fascinating light on the darkest impulses of human nature. You’ll read this in one sitting, but keep the lights on.”—Abbott Kahler, author, The Ghosts of Eden Park
“Harold Schechter is among the top true-crime writers of our time. With this diverse collection, he demonstrates his skill once more at transforming historical chronicles into page-turning tales. He’s a master of research and storytelling.”—Katherine Ramsland, professor of forensic psychology and author, How to Catch a Killer
“Harold Schechter’s presentation of these little-known cases is smooth and insightful, with perfect selections of contemporaneous newspapers blended seamlessly into the narrative. The reader is carried along by his flawless, compelling prose and his instinct for details and background. This book is not only about the killers, but a window on the times, as well as a depiction of recognizable behavior on the part of the public, trial attendees, and people’s infatuation with killers—all mirrored in today’s sensational cases. Schechter has a knack of making it seem as if he was back there observing it all.”—Virginia A. McConnell, author, The Adventuress