Butcher’s Work: True Crime Tales of American Murder and Madness
Nonfiction by Harold Schechter
University of Iowa Press, November 2022
In Butcher’s Work, Harold Schechter explores the story of a Civil War veteran who perpetrated one of the most ghastly mass slaughters in the annals of U.S. crime. A nineteenth-century female serial killer whose victims included three husbands and six of her own children. A Gilded Age “Bluebeard” who did away with as many as fifty wives throughout the country. A decorated World War I hero who orchestrated a murder that stunned Jazz Age America. While other infamous homicides from the same eras—the Lizzie Borden slayings, for example, or the “thrill killing” committed by Leopold and Loeb—have entered into our cultural mythology, these four equally sensational crimes have largely faded from public memory. A quartet of gripping historical true-crime narratives, Butcher’s Work restores these once-notorious cases to vivid, dramatic life. Harold Schechter is professor emeritus at Queens College, CUNY. Among his more than forty books are a series of historical true-crime narratives about America’s most infamous serial killers, including Hell’s Princess. He is married to the poet, Kimiko Hahn.