The Blotter Presents 152: Fear City and The Perfect Murder

Plus Sarah Weinman, Albert Fish, a new podcast, a punch that killed, and more

It was the best of shows, it was the worst of shows… The Blotter Presents 152 really covers a wide quality range this week, starting with Fear City: New York vs. The Mafia. Guest Jeb Lund and I really liked this one: good local flavor, didn’t try to do too much, didn’t drag on longer than it needed to to seem prestige-y. Even Giuliani had something to offer besides Cryptkeeper cosplay! Maybe Mafia-based true-crime properties aren’t generally your thing, but we’re betting this one still works for you as a visual buffet of 1970s and ’80s New York City.

The Cold Case is a visual buffet of its own, if the cuisine in question is WTF. Weird signage, belly shirts, a re-enactor who could only look less like the real-life subject if he were a redheaded lady…The Perfect Murder S05E09 has it all. It’s not great that we’re consuming an account of Gavin Smith’s demise and giggling at it, but Lord knows the case is going to stick with us. (Hat tip to the tipster who recommended TPM; YOU can make me and my guests consume stuff too! Just call or text 919 75-CRIME and let us know what you’re watching.) Show notes are below; listen to Ep 152 right here. — SDB


A little underwater today on other work — literally; I’m prepping Jaws 3D for an upcoming episode of the aforementioned Quaid In Full pod — so I’ve got a bunch of quick hits for you, below. Paid subscribers, stay tuned for my Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century review in a day or two! (Want to read that and all the other extras? Subscribe now; it’s just $5 a month!)


In August of 2018, a college coach decked a drunk guy in Queens; the punch was lethal. What happened next, how it was charged, and the outward ripples from a mutually destructive loss of control. [Sports Illustrated]

The Sarah Weinman/Politics & Prose event is tonight! Hope you can join me, and I apologize for biffing the link earlier this week. All of these writers are aces and come up around here frequently, so I can’t wait to listen and learn. (Anyone else reading Unspeakable Acts yet?) [Eventbrite]

During the pandemic, New York City has seen some creative interpretations, and enforcement, of the open-container statutes…but one thing hasn’t changed: “Blacks and Hispanics are being disproportionately ticketed” for brown-bagging happy hour outside, with “Only 7 percent of summonses…issued to white people.” [Gothamist]

“Ready for the heist of a lifetime?” Well, yes, Wondery and USA Today, usually I am! The pod giant and the national daily have paired up to produce The Sneak, which “digs into spectacular true crime stories from the world of sports.” The Sneak’s first story: “World-renowned surfer Jack Roland Murphy pulled off the world’s largest jewel heist. Things turn deadly when he is implicated in the murders of two young women.” You can listen to the first two now, or binge the whole season if you’re a Wondery+ subscriber. [Apple Podcasts]

Our esteemed contrib Margaret Howie tipped us to “SVU and the Problem of Justice,” in which scholar Carissa M. Harris compares the wish-fulfillment functions of Law & Order: SVU and medieval poems “called pastourelles that feature fictionalized narratives about rape and consent.” Basically, the rosy police-justice outcomes of SVU and those found in pastourelles give us a cultural closure we know we can’t probably expect IRL. [Avidly]

A&E’s crime blog looks at some of the most notorious murder cases and convictions in which there was no body. This “No Corpse? No Problem.” headline is a little flip for my taste, given that the piece also leads with a picture 1) from the Albert Fish/Grace Budd case 2) whose caption mentions, ultra-creepily, a “doll’s wig” found by investigators. [Real Crime]

Phoebe Lett wrote up a list for the Times of true-crime podcasts at the intersection of race. It’s a good list, but it seems a little short; we’d love to hear your additions, if you’ve got ’em. [New York Times]

Bustle investigates what it’s like to spend a decade hunting for the Golden State Killer, digging into the case (and the compulsion) with two of Michelle McNamara’s collaborators. [Bustle]


Coming up on Best Evidence, even MORE podcasts, and picking the August bonus book! Hope we’ll see you here.


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