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April’s Best Nonfiction Crime Books


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CrimeReads editors select the month’s best new nonfiction crime books. 

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The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense
By Edward White
(W.W. Norton & Co.)

White’s study of Hitchcock is an endlessly engaging and insightful read, breaking down the Master of Suspense’s life into twelve aspects, each illuminated with clever analysis of the director’s work. From Hitchcock “the dandy” to Hitchcock “the voyeur” and Hitchcock “the man of God,” White offers up incisive commentary on the multitudes contained within the man’s larger-than-life persona, and the live mind behind some of the greatest movies ever made. For fans of classic movies and suspense, this is a must-read new book. –Dwyer Murphy, CrimeReads Editor-in-Chief

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The Unfit Heiress: The Tragic Life and Scandalous Sterilization of Ann Cooper Hewitt
By Audrey Clare Farley
(Grand Central Publishing)

In 1934, socialite Maryon Cooper Hewitt concocted what has to be one of the more insidious schemes of the century, having her own daughter declared “feeble-minded” and sterilized without her consent or knowledge, all justified with reference to her supposedly wild sexuality, and designed to disinherit her from her father’s will, which included a clause that required childbearing for women to inherit. In her new book, The Unfit Heiress, Audrey Clare Farley untangles this dark and complex chapter of American history and shines a light on official and medical complicity in a horrifying system. Her book is exceedingly well-researched yet reads with the momentum of a thriller. –DM

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Murder at the Mission: A Frontier Killing, Its Legacy of Lies, and the Taking of the American West
By Blaine Harden
(Viking)

Harden’s new book takes aim at a seminal narrative in the founding of Oregon and the American push into westward territories in the 19th century. The narrative surrounds Dr. Marcus Whitman and Reverend Henry Spalding and Whitman’s supposedly heroic efforts to save Oregon from a British / Catholic conspiracy, only to return home to be massacred along with his family. The story, it turns out, was a strange piece of propaganda concocted by Spalding and pushed by a cabal of interests who wanted whites to settle the northwest. The lies, handed down through generations, led to the execution of several Cayuse and the theft of tribal lands. Harden’s work is a clear-eyed look at western mythology and a reckoning with historical sins. –DM

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Everything Is Fine: A Memoir
By Vince Granata
(Atria)

A bucolic Connecticut childhood hid the first stirrings of schizophrenia in Vince Granata’s younger brother, who would go on to murder their mother in the midst of a psychotic break. Granata tells an unimaginably horrifying saga with empathy and understanding, as his grief-stricken family goes through battles with courts and institutions to make sure that their loved one is kept safe, and others are kept safe from him. A beautifully wrought memoir of love, loss, and the far-reaching effects of a terrible disease.–MO

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Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid: America’s Original Gangster Couple
By Glenn Stout
(Houghton Mifflin)

A decade and a half before Bonnie and Clyde captured the hearts of a nation, Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid were pulling heists and gaining fans across Jazz Age America. Flapper Margaret and bad boy Richard Whittemore loved the high life, and they stole millions of dollars worth of diamonds in a single year, leaving a trail of bodies behind them, to give themselves all the luxuries they felt they deserved. Once the two went on trial, their story moved from news to legend. Highly entertaining!  –MO

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Michael Neff
Algonkian Producer
New York Pitch Director
Author, Development Exec, Editor

We are the makers of novels, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

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