The Girls of Murder City

The Girls of Murder City

Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago

Book - 2010
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The true story of the murderesses who became media sensations and inspired the musical Chicago. There was nothing surprising about men turning up dead in Jazz Age Chicago. Life was cheaper than a quart of illicit gin in the gangland capital of the world. But two murders that spring were special, or so believed Maurine Watkins, a "girl reporter" for the Chicago Tribune, the city's "hanging paper." Newspaperwomen were supposed to write about clubs, cooking and clothes, but the intrepid Miss Watkins zeroed in on murderers instead. She made "Stylish Belva" Gaertner and "Beautiful Beulah" Annan--both of whom had brazenly shot down their lovers--the talk of the town. Soon more than a dozen women preened and strutted on "Murderesses' Row" as they awaited trial, desperate for the same attention that was being lavished on Maurine Watkins's favorites.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2010
ISBN: 9780670021970
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 PER
Characteristics: xi, 304 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., map ; 24 cm


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Mar 01, 2016

Mirror, mirror on the wall...... Who was Chicago's fairest murderess of them all?

Well, if you happened to be living in the "Windy City" back in the 1920's, you just might be surprised to find out that, when it came to murderous crimes of passion, it wasn't always the guys who dominated the headlines. No. Often enough, it was the trigger-happy gals who held the monopoly in this deadly game of doing-in one's mate.

The Girls of Murder City is a detail-saturated social history (competently written and researched by author Douglas Perry) that gives the reader a real close-up look at the making of the celebrity criminal whose best publicity agent was, of course, the news-reporter.

And, in these particular cases of murder, it was the sometimes over-zealous and often relentless newspaperwoman, Maurine Watkins, who kept the insatiable public thirsting for more and more.

So, if you are someone who enjoys reading true crime stories from days gone by, then The Girls of Murder City will, most certainly, whet your whistle and keep you turning page after page to learn all about these brazen "Jazz Age" babes who, damned and defiant, threw all caution to the wind.

Oct 10, 2011

Nothing can compare to the facts about a fascinating time in Chicago history that inspired the play and musical "Chicago". I have been fascinated by the rise of this story since I viewed an obscure movie with Ginger Rogers in the title roll called "Roxie Hart". Definitely cleaned up for the code it still had a titillating premise - woman who get away with murder. And in real life, did they ever get away with it! Not so surprising considering the times - only male juries were allowed, and if you could look even a little pathetic and pretty at the same time you had it made. The shock value behind the story still makes for a book that kept me reading into the wee hours.

Oct 12, 2010

I saw the musical but I didn't realize it was based on a sharp, biting, satiric play about two women who got away with murder. The play was written by a journalist who did not fall for their feminine wiles when she was covering the trials for her newspaper.

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