Welcome to Best Evidence’s crime-alphabet project! Not sure what this is? Start at the beginning! And don’t be afraid to fill in our blanks...
This was a fun one to edit. Y? Well, we had some overlap, but then a couple entries where it’s clear the panelists didn’t have to think very hard at all about their picks — AND some creative rummaging around in the middle of the last century.
Margaret Howie: “Yrs Truly, A. Lincoln.” Back in 1956 someone reading the latest New Yorker definitely elbowed a friend of theirs and said, “Hey, I know you’re a few issues behind and want to catch up on those but read this first!” Some things never change, and may the New Yorker long continue to be the reliable source for articles that are highly literary but also make your eyebrows skate up your forehead to meet your hairline. This story of a forger who changed the entire collectibles market but also stuck to a personal code of honor is unbeatable Sunday-afternoon reading. Someone option the film rights so we can begin debating the casting already (Giamatti? Platt? Root?). (Honorable mention: You’re Wrong About... (podcast series).)
Kevin Smokler: You're Wrong About. The two-journalist podcast (Huffington Post reporter Michael Hobbes and freelancer Sarah Marshall) does what the far more lavishly funded New York Times project "Retro Report" could not: Make the reporting/re-contextualizing of historic events available in some other fashion than behind an expensive paywall. Their reassessments of the crimes of OJ Simpson and the Satanic Panic of the 1980s nearly do the impossible: Make a chewed-to-mulch crime story taste fresh again.
SDB: You Must Remember This, “Charles Manson’s Hollywood.” I barely have time to listen to podcasts I’m on, but I’ve returned to this season of Karina Longworth’s fantastic investigation into “Hollywood’s first century” again and again. It’s extraordinarily evocative of the time, sensorily; it takes lengthy and fascinating sidebars (into Dennis Wilson, for instance) without losing focus; it’s by turns sensitive and scathing, and never cheap. Everyone’s well sick of my pushing this ten-parter on them by now, but I don’t care. (Honorable mentions: Andrea Yates; the Yorkshire Ripper.)
Susan Howard: The Yoga Store Murder by Dan Morse. I’ve evangelized for this book in the past, but it’s an extraordinary investigation of the perplexing killing of a Lululemon employee by another in Maryland in 2011. (Honorable mention: Andrea Yates.)
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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