Description : In the last decade, serial murder has become a source of major concern for law enforcement agencies, while the serial killer has attracted widespread interest as a villain in popular culture. There is no doubt, however, that popular fears and stereotypes have vastly exaggerated the actual scale of multiple homicide activity. In assessing the concern and the interest, Jenkins has produced an innovative synthesis of approaches to social problem construction. It includes an historical and social-scientific estimate of the objective scale of serial murder; a rhetorical analysis of the construction of the phenomenon in public debate; and a cultural studies-oriented analysis of the portrayal of serial murder in contemporary literature, film, and the mass media. Using Murder suggests that a problem of this sort can only be understood in the context of its political and rhetorical dimension; that fears of crime and violence are valuable for particular constituencies and interest groups, which put them to their own uses. In part, these agendas are bureaucratic, in the sense that exaggerated concern about the offense generates support for criminal justice agencies. But other forces are at work in the culture at large, where serial murder has become an invaluable rhetorical weapon in public debates over issues like gender, race, and sexual orientation. Serial murder is worthy of study not so much for its intrinsic significance, but rather for what it suggests about the concerns, needs, and fears of the society that has come to portray it as an “ultimate evil.” Using Murder is a highly original study of a powerful contemporary mythology by a criminologist and historian versed in the constructionist literature on the origins of “moral panics.”
Description : This is the first book to examine murder through the written word--not only the writings of the killers themselves, but also the story of murder as told in literary fiction and the crime dramas that are now a staple of film and television. The authors--a criminologist specializing in cold cases, written evidence, and forensic science, and an anthropologist who has dealt with the signs and ciphers of organized crime and street gangs in his previous work--are widely recognized experts in this emerging specialty field. Based on extensive research and interviews with convicted murderers, the book emphasizes the often-overlooked narrative impulse that drives killers, with the authors explaining how both mass and serial murderers perceive their crimes as stories and why a select few are compelled to commit these stories to writing whether before, during, or after their horrific acts. The book also analyzes the written work of killers, using a combination of machine-based linguistic patterning, predictive modeling, and symbolic interpretation, to make sense of the screeds of everyone from the Son of Sam and the Zodiac Killer to the Columbine attackers, the Unabomber, and the recent spate of mass shooters using social media as their preferred narrative platform. They present a theoretical perspective of murder that is based on both the criminological evidence and written works. In addition, the authors examine famous literature that has dealt ingeniously with murder and its relationship with real crime, from the Greek tragedians to Truman Capote to modern-day productions such as Making a Murderer. This unique approach offers a new means to penetrate the minds of murderers, revealing their motives as well as the wider social meanings of this age-old crime and our continuing fascination with it.
Description : Molecules of Murder is about infamous murderers and famous victims; about people like Harold Shipman, Alexander Litvinenko, Adelaide Bartlett, and Georgi Markov. Few books on poisons analyse these crimes from the viewpoint of the poison itself, doing so throws a new light on how the murders or attempted murders were carried out and ultimately how the perpetrators were uncovered and brought to justice. Part I includes molecules which occur naturally and were originally used by doctors before becoming notorious as murder weapons. Part II deals with unnatural molecules, mainly man-made, and they too have been dangerously misused in famous crimes. The book ends with the most famous poisoning case in recent years, that of Alexander Litvinenko and his death from polonium chloride. The first half of each chapter starts by looking at the target molecule itself, its discovery, its history, its chemistry, its use in medicine, its toxicology, and its effects on the human body. The second half then investigates a famous murder case and reveals the modus operandi of the poisoner and how some were caught, some are still at large, and some literally got away with murder. Molecules of Murder will explain how forensic chemists have developed cunning ways to detect minute traces of dangerous substances, and explain why some of these poisons, which appear so life-threatening, are now being researched as possible life-savers. Award winning science writer John Emsley has assembled another group of true crime and chemistry stories to rival those of his highly acclaimed Elements of Murder.
Description : A man murders his wife after she has admitted her infidelity; another man kills an openly gay teammate after receiving a massage; a third man, white, goes for a jog in a “bad” neighborhood, carrying a pistol, and shoots an African American teenager who had his hands in his pockets. When brought before the criminal justice system, all three men argue that they should be found “not guilty”; the first two use the defense of provocation, while the third argues he used his gun in self-defense. Drawing upon these and similar cases, Cynthia Lee shows how two well-established, traditional criminal law defenses—the doctrines of provocation and self-defense—enable majority-culture defendants to justify their acts of violence. While the reasonableness requirement, inherent in both defenses, is designed to allow community input and provide greater flexibility in legal decision-making, the requirement also allows majority-culture defendants to rely on dominant social norms, such as masculinity, heterosexuality, and race (i.e., racial stereotypes), to bolster their claims of reasonableness. At the same time, Lee examines other cases that demonstrate that the reasonableness requirement tends to exclude the perspectives of minorities, such as heterosexual women, gays and lesbians, and persons of color. Murder and the Reasonable Man not only shows how largely invisible social norms and beliefs influence the outcomes of certain criminal cases, but goes further, suggesting three tentative legal reforms to address problems of bias and undue leniency. Ultimately, Lee cautions that the true solution lies in a change in social attitudes.
Description : Is mass murder a historically new phenomenon that emerged in the 1960s? How has it changed over time? And what causes a person to commit multiple murders in a matter of hours or even minutes? This book explores these questions by examining 909 mass murders that took place in the United States between 1900 and 1999. By far the largest study on the topic to date, it begins with a look at the patterns and prevalence of mass murders by presenting rates from 1900–1999 and by describing the characteristics of mass killers. Placing the phenomenon within the broader social, political, and economic context of the twentieth century, the work examines the factors that have influenced trends in the prevalence of mass murder. It also discusses more than 100 case studies within three distinct periods of mass murder activity (1900–1939, 1940–1965, and 1966–1999) to illustrate more clearly the motives of mass murderers and the circumstances surrounding their crimes. The final chapters take a look at media coverage and the role it has played in the social construction of mass murder. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.
Description : A Woman With A Passion For Power. . . Kathy Marie Augustine was not out to make friends. In politics, she rose to the top by playing hardball--and pushing her way through the old boy's network of the Nevada legislature, rising to the rank of State Controller. When she died, only a few people shed tears--including the man who killed her. A Killer With A Foolproof Plan. . . Chaz Higgs was a former body-builder turned intensive care nurse who saw wealthy, sexy Kathy Marie Augustine as his meal-ticket--until he couldn't stomach her domineering personality any longer. When Chaz decided he'd had enough, he chose a poison that would leave no evidence behind. Murder Hidden In Plain Sight. . . The death of a nationally-known politician made headlines, but one slip of the tongue came to the attention of a determined Nevada detective. Now, true-crime master Gary C. King takes us into the extraordinary life and death of a famously ambitious woman politician, behind the scenes of the investigation that unearthed shocking secrets, and into the heart and mind of a man who nearly got away with the perfect crime. . . Includes 16 Pages Of Revealing Photos
Description : Human psychological and physical well-being is damaged and destroyed when people are deliberately killed by other people. There are millions of primary and secondary victims of murder throughout the world, and human society as a whole is a tertiary victim of murder. Despite this, people are often fascinated and engrossed by stories of homicide and killers. This book provides a fascinating exploration of murder, providing an insight into what leads people to kill and what effect this has on society as a whole. This book is organized into five chapters that each answer a specific question on murder: What is Murder? Who Commits Murder? Why Commit Murder? Why is Murder Devastating? Why is Murder Fascinating?
Description : Life in tiny Lake Eden, Minnesota, is usually pleasantly uneventful. Lately, though, it seems everyone has more than their fair share of drama--especially the Swensen family. With so much on her plate, Hannah Swensen can hardly find the time to think about her bakery--let alone the town's most recent murder. . Hannah is nervous about the upcoming trial for her involvement in a tragic accident. She's eager to clear her name once and for all, but her troubles only double when she finds the judge bludgeoned to death with his own gavel--and Hannah is the number one suspect. Now on trial in the court of public opinion, she sets out in search of the culprit and discovers that the judge made more than a few enemies during his career. With time running out, Hannah will have to whip up her most clever recipe yet to find a killer more elusive than the perfect brownie. . .
Description : The science of forensic entomology-the application of insect biology to the investigation of crime-is extremely specialized, combining as it does an expert knowledge of entomology with keen powers of observation and deduction. Dr. Erzinclioglu has been a practitioner for over twenty-five years and has been involved in a great number of investigations, including some recent high-profile cases, where his evidence has been critical to the outcome. A great admirerer of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Erzinclioglu compares his own techniques with those of his fictional hero, and takes the reader behind the often gruesome but deeply fascinating scenes of a murder investigation. This absorbing book ranges over cases from history, prehistory and mythology to the present day and is as gripping and readable as a good thriller.