Smuttynose Murders




What really happened on that cold night in 1873 ...The three women had been left alone on Smuttynose, a remote island 10 miles off the coast of New Hampshire - their men had gone to Portsmouth for the night. When they returned the next day, two of the women were dead, brutally murdered. The third had escaped, and was ready to point the finger at the murderer, Louis Wagner. It was an open-and-shut case.Or was it?In David Faxon's "Cold Water Crossing," [Sterling-Putnam Editions, $14.95], the well-known story of the Smuttynose murders is turned into a riveting tick-tock account that takes you from that grisly night on the island to the capture of Louis Wagner, through his trial and finally to the hanging (no, I won't tell you who was hung).Look for the O.J. Simpson moment in the account, one that was ignored by Wagner's incompetent attorney. Speaking of incompetent - note his jailers.The author uses his imagination to fill in the spaces in the contemporaneous written accounts of what happened, but Faxon's storytelling is strong enough you can suspend disbelief and feel like you were witness to the event.- Barbara Coles

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