Booklist Review Excerpt

  • Time to read less than 1 minute

"In large part because it sold newspapers, exceptionally lurid reporting of murders often “shook the nation,” especially in post-Depression America. The tabloids sold well if they got the scoop, and if they invented much of it, few cared. So the case of the Mad Sculptor was one in a string of “read-all-about-it” crimes, this one made more newsworthy because the primary victim, Veronica Gedeon, had modeled for several true-crime pulps, so in addition to the details the newsmen and -women whipped up, they also published photos of her posing, cowering and scantily clad, “a half-naked beauty in mortal distress.” The murderer, Robert Irwin, was not only a burgeoning sculptor but also under the psychological wing of Fredric Wertham, most notorious today, perhaps, for his best-seller,Seduction of the Innocent (1954), which fingered comic books for making criminals of children. To top off the case, Irwin’s attorney was Samuel Leibowitz, who later won great renown for freeing the Scottsboro Boys. Schechter (Psycho USA: Famous American Killers You Never Heard Of, 2012) adds another page-turner to his stable of atmospheric, highly readable true-crime works."