The trial of Lizzie Borden : a true story /

The remarkable new account of an essential piece of American mythology--the trial of Lizzie Borden--based on twenty years of research and recently unearthed evidence. The Trial of Lizzie Borden tells the true story of one of the most sensational murder trials in American history. When Andrew and Abb... Full description

Main Author: Robertson, Cara.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2019
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Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Was Lizzie Borden really an ax murderer? Robertson brings her expertise as a lawyer and legal adviser to her 20 years of research on the Borden case in her first book. Using transcripts from the trial, newspaper articles, unpublished local reports, and Borden's recently discovered letters, Robertson analyzes not only the trial, but also nineteenth-century attitudes about women and crime. She points out how the police bungled the investigation, how the prosecution miscalculated its case, and how the defense attorney's brilliant strategy helped Lizzie. Even more revealing, she shows how prejudices about women and the feelings of the people of Fall River, Massachusetts, toward the Bordens affected the way the police, lawyers, judges, and press looked at Lizzie. Robertson weaves the facts and her analysis into a fast-paced, page-turning read. While she speculates on who the real murderer was, she lets readers make up their own minds, tantalizing them with one final surprise that will leave readers wondering. More than 60 pages of footnotes and an extensive bibliography round out this must-purchase for public libraries, and a must-read for fans of Kate Summerscale's The Wicked Boy (2016).--Merle Jacob Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Lawyer Robertson debuts with the definitive account to date of one of America's most notorious and enduring murder mysteries. In August 1892, the bodies of Lizzie Borden's father, Andrew, and her stepmother, Abby, were found hacked to death in their home in Fall River, Mass. As the murders were committed during daylight, when the house was occupied by Lizzie, who lived there along with her sister, she became an obvious person of interest. Strong circumstantial evidence showing that Lizzie alone had the opportunity to commit the crimes-along with testimony that she'd attempted to buy prussic acid the day before and that she'd burned a dress after the killings-led to her arrest. The absence of a clear motive, any prior history of violence, and the difficulty many had in viewing the respectable churchgoing Lizzie as a savage killer proved obstacles to widespread acceptance of the prosecution's case, and Lizzie was acquitted after a trial. Robertson methodically rebuts the numerous theories advanced at the time and since, some of which pointed to other members of the household. The end result is a superior, page-turning true crime narrative that will leave most readers believing that the jury got it wrong. Agent: Tina Bennett, WME. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A new history of the trial of the late 19th century: Lizzie Borden (1860-1927), accused of the murder of her father and stepmother.Robertson, a former Supreme Court clerk and legal adviser at The Hague, amply shows how the wheels of justice often move slowly, by small steps. First, there was an inquest, in which Lizzie testified along with her maid, Bridget Sullivan. Lizzie and her sister Emma were estranged from their father and, especially, their stepmother. They were also jealous of property their father had purchased for his wife's sister; attempting to mollify them, unsuccessfully, he had deeded another property to them. Accounting for her morning, Lizzie offered differing statements about what she was doing. With Emma visiting out of town, it was only Lizzie who had the opportunity to kill both parents, even hours apart. After the inquest came Lizzie's arrest and imprisonment, where she exhibited a stoic demeanor that would carry her from the preliminary hearing through the trial. She was self-possessed and unruffled, ready to accept whatever fate dealt her. While she did break down a few times, as when her father's skull was presented, for the most part she seemed confident and intent on following every testimony. Constantly whispering in the ear of George Robinson, her lawyer, she seemed to treat the trial as an exercise in controlling what the jury was allowed to hear. Robertson presents the story with the thoroughness one expects from an attorney, but she manages to avoid the tedious repetitiveness inherent in a trial by providing close looks at other contemporaneous elements such as Lizzie's attempt to buy poison, a newly discovered hatchet, and the contradictions of the prosecution's witnesses.Readers are given every bit of evidence available and will be hard-pressed to reach a verdict; it's fun trying, though. Fans of crime novels will love it. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.