Crime: An Encyclopedia

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9781570760648: Crime: An Encyclopedia

Includes entries on crimes ranging from assassination and kidnapping to art forgeries and serial killers, tries to answer such questions as Does a head survive decapitation? and offers insight into such unsolved crimes as the deaths of Marilyn Monroe and Pope John Paul I.

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This addition to the reference literature of true crime provides fascinating and often new information and interpretations about some of history's most controversial crime cases. Written in an engaging style, the encyclopedia covers the entire gamut of crime, from assassinations to kidnappings to serial killers to art forgeries.

In his introduction, Cyriax states that in researching the encyclopedia, he has attempted to shed light on some of crime's biggest enigmas. He asks, How did America come to pass legislation banning alcohol? What is the best way to crack a safe? How do lethal injections work? Does a head survive decapitation? It's the author's painstaking attempt to answer such questions that helps put this encyclopedia a notch above many others.

The entries for crime cases and subjects are arranged alphabetically. The information provided for each varies from a few paragraphs to a page or more. Many entries make for a good read. Under Kidnapping, for example, we learn that the first reported case dates from 1874, when four-year-old Charles Ross from Philadelphia was not returned and the ransom of $20,000 was not collected. The author provides what he says is new information on crimes he considers unsolved, including the famous deaths of Marilyn Monroe and Pope John Paul I, but some of it is dated or has been discredited. With regard to evidence of a conspiracy in JFK's death, for example, he relies too heavily on lawyer Jim Garrison, while not mentioning Gerald Posner's book Case Closed.

The book has a few errors (the former president of Colombia is Virgilio Barco, not Barca) and omissions (there is no entry for Colombia's powerful drug Mafia). But the book's strengths far outweigh any drawbacks. Illustrations, both black-and-white photographs and pen sketches, enhance the book's readability. The index, however, could be improved upon. Pope John Paul I, for example, does not appear under any of the elements in his name.

Overall, Crime offers a wealth of material on a fascinating subject in an attractive format. It is recommended for purchase by all types of libraries wanting to build their true-crime reference collections.

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Cyriax, Oliver
Published by Trafalgar Square Books
ISBN 10: 1570760640 ISBN 13: 9781570760648
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