Booklist review of Murderabilia

  • Time to read less than 1 minute

It is the rare reference book that is compulsively readable, but Murderabilia is one. 

As the introduction explains, interest in violent death and the collecting of memorabilia surrounding the scenes of such deaths dates back hundreds of years. The 100 entries date from the murder of Naomi Wise in 1808 (commemorated in a “murdered-girl ballad”) to the Slender Man stabbing of 2014, the product of a too-deep adolescent identification with an internet meme. Each entry is illustrated with black-and-white photos or reproductions of artifacts. Giving background information on perpetrators, the historical milieu in which they operated, and, to the extent possible, their mental outlooks and physical conditions, these two-to-four-pages-long articles provide fertile ground for true-crime fans or students researching specific cases or types of crimes. With a reference to a website that gives a detailed bibliography, photo credits, and a comprehensive index, Murderabilia covers crimes ranging from those of passion to school shootings to bombings. A sound addition to true-crime collections and collections in colleges, especially those with concentrations in criminology or criminal justice. 

— Ann Welton