Michael Benson - Filthy Murders : In the Era of Jack the Ripper

A tremendous history lesson and essential reading for everyone in the Rochester area. You'll recognize the locations and find interest in how those places looked 140 years ago. Book tells the story of five murders, all taking place in the City of Rochester, N.Y., during the latter decades of the nineteenth century. The first story, which takes up the first half of the book, is about the home invasion murder of a young wife and mother. Her body is found in the cellar, a flour sack tied tightly around her neck and her skirts hiked up. At first, of course, the husband was arrested, amid rumors that he and his wife, along with another couple, were swingers. But he was released in favor of a preferable suspect, a damaged young tramp who'd been floating around the Hayward Avenue neighborhood looking for food. In another story, the resort town of Charlotte (that's Cha'LOT to Rochesterians) where the rich went to play along the crystal clear waters of Lake Ontario. At night it was where the pick pockets and the thugs went to fleece drunks who still had money in their pockets. After our victim checks into a hotel for the night complaining he'd been mugged, he dies overnight from brain swelling. Who bonked him on the head. The answer seems to come the next day when a man is going around trying to sell the victim's watch. In another story, brother kills brother. Book spans the last years of the gallows in Monroe County, and the first of the new-fangled electric chair.

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