Read All ABout It

  • Debut of cover art for Parallel Lives

    Today the Fall River Historical Society has released the working cover art for its long-awaited volume, Parallel Lives, a history of Lizzie Borden’s Fall River.  The cover features an expanded view of the famous “pansy brooch” portrait of Lizzie, with her dress tinted in a rich shade of burgundy and was designed by Charles S. Medeiros of Burnt Toast Graphics.  It is a rare treat to see colorized photographs of the well-known black and white images so familiar to students of the Borden case.  The rich hue used for the dust jacket is one which perfectly reflects Victoriana.  Lizzie truly comes to life. The photograph in black and white featured in the background is of the wedding day of the William Lawton Slade Braytons, June 18, 1913.

    For all the latest on publication date, follow the historical society online at  http://www.lizzieborden.org/ParallelLives.html  and on Facebook.  The volume is currently in final revision with a publication date soon to come- and not a minute too soon for the many eager enthusiasts and historians who are eager for the new photographs of the Bordens and more than 500 photographs in all.  

  • Lizzie Borden HBO 2-part mini-series to air

    It’s no secret actress Chloe Sevigny loves the Lizzie Borden story and enjoyed her recent visit to the popular Bed and Breakfast in Fall River where the crimes took place.  She recently announced in an interview that she will be starring in the role of Lizzie Borden for an HBO two-part miniseries on the famous case. This is a pet project which has been initiated by the actress herself.  For more on the details see the interview here. Air date is yet to be announced. http://www.thenewsgallery.com/2011/02/chloe-sevigny-talks-to-imagine-fashion.html

  • More Fireside Reading for Winter

    The Killer Book of Infamous Murders, by Tom Philpin and Michael Philpin will be published in February and available on Amazon March 1st.The book examines crimes recent and past, going as far back as the 1800s. The book includes the Lizzie Borden case, the horrifying murders that inspired Truman Capote’s novel, “In Cold Blood,” and the Dr. Sam Shepperd case, which inspired “The Fugitive” movie and TV series.

    This is a follow-up to The Killer Book of Serial Killers which was published January 2009 by the same authors.

  • 40 Whacks Museum Closed in Salem

    As has been reported elsewhere, the Salem enterprise has decided to call it quits.  A number of newspapers have carried the news and comments by locals on the closing.  The economy and failure to connect with local schools, plus high cost of operation have been cited as reasons the business failed to make a go of it in Salem, a city connected with witches far more than Lizzie Borden in the minds of tourists.

      Fall River Herald News
  • Library of Congress Broadside

    Among the Library of Congress collection of unusual broadsides, (those prolific paper tributes written by budding writers about popular topics of the moment), rests this Lizzie Borden case effort by Mr. Beard of New Hampshire, who  gives his home address at the bottom of the page, no doubt in hopes of hearing from a publisher keen to publish his opus.

    Thanks to CLEWS crime blog for bringing this to our attention a few years ago. If you missed it then, here it is again.

  • The Story Behind Arsenic & Old Lace

      As the blizzard approaches, here’s a recent chilling release to curl up with detailing the real-life serial killer who inspired the well-loved Cary Grant feature, Arsenic and Old Lace.  The real saga, however, was not light-hearted and comic, but rather horrifying in its scope and as unbelievable as the carnage inflicted in Chicago by H.H. Holmes at his “Murder Castle” in the 1890’s. Whoever said a woman could not do such things never met Amy.  She makes the charges against Lizzie Borden pale in comparison.  The motive?  GREED.

    ” In 1911, Amy Archer-Gilligan was known to her neighbors in Windsor, Connecticut as “Sister Amy.” Seemingly a kind, devoutly Christian woman, she took the frail and elderly into her home to live out the rest of their days. In reality, “Sister Amy” was a calculating murderer who poisoned her residents (and two husbands) with a brew of lemonade and arsenic. She is believed to have murdered sixty-six residents during the early twentieth century. M. William Phelps details the story of Amy’s greed and deception, which led to her becoming America’s most deadly female serial killer. This shocking true tale inspired the play and film Arsenic and Old Lace. ”

  • Lizzie Borden Cupcakes are a winner

      Cupcakes have been a trendy foodie item recently.  After the TV success of shows such as Cake Boss, Ace of Cakes, and now Cupcake Wars, it was only a matter of time before Lizzie made it to the cupcake competition.  Iron Cupcake, an organization which celebrates the miniature morsels and hosts themed cupcake bake-off contests, has cupcake affiliate chapters all over.  In October of this year, the Toronto branch had a Halloween competition. The entries were creative and tasty, and the competition was fierce,but in the end it was the Lizzie Borden display which won. The photo of the winning display below is from the “Cake Bites” web blog of Gabriella Caruso who was a competitor in the Halloween challenge. http://cakebitess.blogspot.com/2010/10/iron-cupcake-toronto-halloween.html

    The white chocolate hatchet is spectacular and the cupcake shown on the ribbon and lace bedecked round platter in the background has a small skull on the top.  Monica Law was the creator.

    For more on the competition, read an article about the contestants and entries at the link below.

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/11/27/bake-off-brawling-at-the-iron-cupcake-competition/

  • Was there a Will in the Wind?

    Middletown Daily News August 18, 1892 (Middletown, N.Y.)

    Did Lizzie know that her father was seriously thinking about making a will? She seemed to know a great deal about her father’s real estate holdings.  Here is her inquest statement about knowledge of a will:

    Q. Do you know something about his real estate?
    A About what?
    Q. His real estate.
    A I know what real estate he owned; part of it. I don’t know whether or not I know it all or not.
    Q. Tell me what you know of.
    A He owns two farms in Swansea, the place on Second Street and the A. J. Borden Building and corner and the land on South Main Street where McMannus is and then a short time ago, he bought some real estate up further south that formerly, he said, belonged to a Mr. Birch. .
    Q. Did you know of your father making a will?
    A. No sir, except I heard somebody say once that there was one several years ago.  That is all I ever heard.
    Q. Who did you hear say so?
    A. I think it was Mr. Morse.
    Q. What Morse?
    A. Uncle John V. Morse.
    Q. How long ago?
    A. How long ago I heard him say it? I have not any idea.
    Q. What did he say about it?
    A. Nothing except just that.

    Was Lizzie lying in her testimony?  Had she overhead Andrew and her Uncle the night before the murders discussing such details about a will?  Andrew was nearly 70 years old, perhaps he had decided to put something in writing and was making an inventory of his assets.  A good many people seemed to think a will favoring a hefty settlement on his spouse provided a good motive for murder.

  • Lizzie appears in new crime novel

    Bruce A. Brennan, attorney from DeKalb, IL released a novel on November 10, 2010. The book is historical fiction in the crime genre. The book takes place in the late 1880s through the early 1900s and involves Jack the Ripper and other infamous criminals of that period..  Jack the Ripper, Chicago’s H.H. Holmes, the Dalton gang and others make guest appearances.  The novel is e-published and can be downloaded at this link.  Send us your reviews!  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/11/prweb4774174.htm

    About the Author:

    “Bruce A. Brennan is a practicing attorney handling criminal defense work. This is his first published novel. A second one is expected within four months. He writes a daily blog and contributes to several others. This is the story of the investigation and crime solving techniques used to track down the most notorious murderer in the world. The killer plied his trade in Europe and the United States during the 1880s through the early 1900s. After an exhausting investigation, Ian Dean gets his man.”

  • Emma and her furs

      Lizzie’s furs, her sealskin “sacques”. reputed to have required Prussic acid with which to remove moths in that testimony by pharmacist Eli Bence were a luxury garment.  The furs were rumored to have been a 30th birthday gift for Lizzie prior to her trip to Europe on the Grand Tour with lady friends.  Furs as a rule are put in cold storage in the Spring and removed later for winter wear.  Apparently Emma Borden knew how to take care of her fur coats as this Portsmouth Herald newspaper reported on August 5, 1943, long after Emma’s death.  Nice to know Emma had a few luxuries.

    The text of the article:

    ” Miss Emma’s identity was kept secret by Miss Anne Connors with whom she lived in Newmarket and townspeople had no idea of the connection with the reknown Borden family until her death when she was buried beside her sister, mother, and her murdered father and stepmother.  A quiet, elderly woman who was always dressed in rich mourning,  she never visited neighbors and made two trips to Boston, one to put her fur coat in storage at the beginning of summer, and the other to take it out in the fall. 

    Miss Lizzie, on the other hand, lived in her new and modern home, attempted to resume her ardent church activities and made frequent trips to Boston where harrassed hotel managers tried to keep her presence a secret from other patrons and newspapermen.”

  • And it’s Swinging Lizzie in the homestretch!

    On September 17, 1971, the Baker Street Irregulars, that distinguished club of Sherlockians, held a special race at New York’s Belmont Racetrack.  Called the “Silver Blaze” race, after the Sherlock Holmes story of the same name which involved a racehorse, the Irregulars were anxiously inspecting the racing form for a horse to bet on.  The race for fillies included a snappy nag called Swinging Lizzie  in the lineup.  Swinging Lizzie was sired by- Axe II naturally.  Did she win the race?

    Read all about the outcome in the pdf file clipping at this link!  SwingingLizzie

    Thanks to our Baker Street Irregular correspondent, and BSI archivist for sending along this charming tidbit!

  • One for the Lizzie Bookshelf

    Web of Iniquity by Catherine Ross Nickerson

    Duke University Press, Feb. 1999

    Here’s one that may have slipped by unnoticed. It sells from $6- $131 dollars depending on where you hunt for it.  Amazon has the best deals.

    “Surveys detective fiction from the Civil War to World War II, describes how women writers created a form of domestic mystery that offered a critical view of the condition of women, and discusses works based on the Lizzie Borden case.”

    For more about the book and its author visit the Duke U. Press http://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?productid=566&viewby=subject&categoryid=389&sort=author

  • After the Axe

    (photo by Beau Allulli) “Nance O’Neil”: Rachel Brown (standing) and Jonna McElrath in this play at Access Theater

    Reviews still coming in for the new production by the Blue Coyote Group.  Much praise has been lavished on the costume designer, and word has leaked that a “theory” about the crime is suggested in the production.   The interaction between Lizzie and her sister Emma is praised by critics  as a strong element in the play, and the play in general is receiving positive reviews. Get down to the Access theatre soon , for the play closes October 9th!

    David Rooney’s review: http://theater.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/theater/reviews/21nance.html

     

  • Did you miss this one?

    (photo from Amazon.com)

    (photo from Amazon.com)

    Published in 2003 by Trina Robbins and Max Allan Collins, this one is still available on Kindle or paperback through Amazon.  It is a smorgasboard of ladykillers, thoughtfully organized under sections such as “They Did it For Love”,  “They Did it For Money”, “Bandit Queens and Gun Molls”, “Fabled Femmes Fatales”, ” and  “Shoots Like a Girl- Women Who Missed”,  here’s a cozy read for a cold autumn’s night! 

    For preview pages (some containing great cartoon graphics of Lizzie Borden with other femmes fatales), visit this Amazon link to preview and order now!

    http://www.amazon.com/Tender-Murderers-Women-Who-Kill/dp/1573248215/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1284516190&sr=1-1#reader_1573248215