True Crime A To Z: N

Welcome to Best Evidence’s crime-alphabet project! Not sure what the hell we’re doing here? Start at the beginning! And it’s never too late to add your own thoughts.

After the glut of candidates in our M entry yesterday, it’s a bit thinner on the ground with N…but both panelists whose names start with H made me jealous that I hadn’t thought of their nominees. Not much overlap here either, but what there is centers on a figure who inspired my mother to coin the word “sordidry” at the breakfast table…

Margaret Howie: "96 Minutes" by Pamela Colloff (2006). If this was the only time that Pamela Colloff delved into the background of an almost-forgotten crime to find new truths that were shockingly relevant to today, she’d earn a place in the canon. But Colloff does this so often that her work is the stuff of longform legend — get lost in her Texas Monthly back catalog sometime. “96 Minutes” still stands out, the oral history of a school shooting in 1966 at the University of Austin that’s an engrossing, horrifying read. It would go on to be the basis of the riveting 2016 animated documentary Tower.

SDB: The Neulanders. Once upon a time, in the early days of The Blotter Presents, I talked with my esteemed colleague Kim Reed about Robert Neulander, accused of murdering his wife Leslie and covering it up as a slip-and-fall accident in 2012. That’s her local Neulander case; the Jersey Neulander case is Rabbi Fred, accused of hiring a braggy hit man named Len Jenoff to kill his wife in 1994. Both men maintain their innocence, but while Robert has gotten a new trial, Fred remains a guest of NJ-DOC. (Not that I care to use the word “honorable” anywhere near this individual…let’s go with “other mentions”: Larry Nasser; Netflix, which linked arms with HBO to get TV true crime taken seriously.)

Susan Howard: Jay Robert Nash. Author of numerous true-crime anthologies that served as introductory texts to aficionados reared in the 1970s and 1980s. (Honorable mentions: Evelyn Nesbit; Eliot Ness; Fred Neulander.)

True Crime A To Z is available to all subscribers…and we’d love your feedback! Comment on our picks, and tell an interested friend!

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