Gucci · Elisa Lam · The Harts

Also: Your weekend longreads

A new book seeks to untangle the threads of a late 1800s slaying on the British Columbia prairie. The Trials of Albert Stroebel: Love, Murder and Justice at the End of the Frontier dropped in March with little fanfare, perhaps because author Chad Reimer is perhaps best known for a book about a missing (not stolen!) lake.

Albert Stroebel is firmly in the true crime genre, the London Free Press reports, as it details the 1893 death of farmer John Marshall, who was allegedly killed by his rival for the affections of a 12-year-old girl, and a possible hoard of gold coins hidden somewhere on his property. Reimer’s “prose style is lucid and competent despite his academic training as a historian,” reviewer Tom Sandborn says, which seems like a needless shade toss at the history profession but what do I know. The book is currently out of stock on Amazon’s US site, but is up for grabs on its Canadian counterpart, apparently because it won’t be published in the States until June of this year. — EB


Ridley Scott’s dramatic adaptation of the Maurizio Gucci homicide case has found a home at MGM. We haven’t heard much about this movie, which is rumored to star Lady Gaga as Gucci’s murderous ex-wife, since last November, and I’d wondered (since it had yet to enter production) if it might fall victim to the cutbacks prompted by the coronavirus-induced global recession.

Variety reported Wednesday that MGM had picked up the movie, which is based on Sara G. Forden’s 2001 book The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed. The movie is set for release on Thanksgiving of 2021, and other than ongoing negotiations with Gaga (who made headlines this week for her challenges re making plans), no casting has been announced. — EB


A documentary about the Hart family is available on VOD. A Thread of Deceit: The Hart Family Tragedy snuck onto the scene quietly, though Sarah did get a screener (and will be talking about it on the next podcast). It’s a documentary about the relatively recent case of Jennifer and Susan Hart, who investigators believe intentionally drove themselves and their six children off a Northern California cliff.

It’s the same ground covered by podcast Broken Harts, which I reviewed here (you can listen to Brief 26 on the case here), and I assume by the way it was released without much ado that there isn’t a new revelation that somehow explains the case. Producer Rachel Morgan did an interview this week with a NorCal radio station, and said it was the hardest story she’s ever worked on, due to the troubling subject matter. If you’re looking for something to watch, the 57-minute doc is available for purchase: it’s $19.99 at Amazon, $9.99 at Apple, and $7.99 at Google Play. — EB


There’s a new book about the disappearance of Elisa Lam. Lam’s 2013 disappearance — which was marked by a distinctly odd piece of surveillance footage, helped inspire American Horror Story’s “Hotel” season, and is the subject of one of my favorite true crime longreads, a visit to the hotel where she died by reporter Josh Dean.

Now her death, which obsessed scores of message board and reddit detectives for ages, is the subject of a book by The Ghost Diaries’ Jake Anderson, who tells We Saw The Devil that he devoted the last five years of his life to the case for a book called Gone at Midnight: The Mysterious Death of Elisa Lam, which was released this past February.

Reviews of the book are mixed, with many saying that Anderson places himself front-and-center in the story, a device that might not be to everyone’s tastes. But given the many questions that still remain about Lam’s death, it’s likely to find an audience with those still nagged by that creepy video of Lam inside her hotel’s elevator. — EB


Once you’re done with that Matter piece on Lam, here are a couple more articles to get you through the weekend…


Monday on Best Evidence: Atlanta-case reading recs and more!


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