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The Borden Tragedy: A Memoir of the Infamous Double Murder at Fall River, Mass. 1892

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"Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one!" From the introduction: "The account presented in these pages of 19th Century America's most famous murder case is excerpted and adapted from the unpublished memoirs of a (thus far) unknown lady of Fall River, Massachusetts. Since the typewritten, unedite "Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one!" From the introduction: "The account presented in these pages of 19th Century America's most famous murder case is excerpted and adapted from the unpublished memoirs of a (thus far) unknown lady of Fall River, Massachusetts. Since the typewritten, unedited manuscript came to light at a 1990 estate sale, its provenance has been established to a satisfying degree. As part of the contents of an unopened trunk, it resided since the turn of the century in the basement of a private archive in Boston." In this third volume of Geary's Treasury, the famous Lizzie Borden double murder is explored with as much attention to well -researched detail as in his Jack the Ripper. This is another celebrated murder of last century, the one that lead to the infamous school rhyme. The parrallel between this old case and OJ Simpson's is striking: both defendants had unblemished reputations; the double murders were gruesome; there were no witnesses and no weapons found; the cases took the media by storm. Both wealthy defendants hired expensive lawyers who convinced the jury of reasonable doubt. Both remain under a cloud of suspicion...


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"Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one!" From the introduction: "The account presented in these pages of 19th Century America's most famous murder case is excerpted and adapted from the unpublished memoirs of a (thus far) unknown lady of Fall River, Massachusetts. Since the typewritten, unedite "Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one!" From the introduction: "The account presented in these pages of 19th Century America's most famous murder case is excerpted and adapted from the unpublished memoirs of a (thus far) unknown lady of Fall River, Massachusetts. Since the typewritten, unedited manuscript came to light at a 1990 estate sale, its provenance has been established to a satisfying degree. As part of the contents of an unopened trunk, it resided since the turn of the century in the basement of a private archive in Boston." In this third volume of Geary's Treasury, the famous Lizzie Borden double murder is explored with as much attention to well -researched detail as in his Jack the Ripper. This is another celebrated murder of last century, the one that lead to the infamous school rhyme. The parrallel between this old case and OJ Simpson's is striking: both defendants had unblemished reputations; the double murders were gruesome; there were no witnesses and no weapons found; the cases took the media by storm. Both wealthy defendants hired expensive lawyers who convinced the jury of reasonable doubt. Both remain under a cloud of suspicion...

30 review for The Borden Tragedy: A Memoir of the Infamous Double Murder at Fall River, Mass. 1892

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    What a great illustration of a true crime! I had heard of the famous Lizzie Borden rhyme ("Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one!") but I didn't know much about the actual murders. In August 1892, Lizzie's father and step-mother were brutally chopped to death with an axe in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizzie was charged with the crimes but later found not guilty. This comic adapted information from a What a great illustration of a true crime! I had heard of the famous Lizzie Borden rhyme ("Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one!") but I didn't know much about the actual murders. In August 1892, Lizzie's father and step-mother were brutally chopped to death with an axe in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizzie was charged with the crimes but later found not guilty. This comic adapted information from a memoir of a lady in Fall River, and it was fascinating. The book did a nice job of laying out the evidence and also the unanswered questions in the case. I enjoyed this comic in the "Victorian Murder" series so much I've requested several other Rick Geary books from the library. Highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melki

    Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one. My dad used to recite that to me when I was a kid, (Yes, I know. My upbringing was not unlike that of Wednesday Addams...) so often in fact, that I thought HE was the one who'd made it up. According to this book, that charming children's rhyme came into being during Borden's well publicized trial. Lizzie's step-mother was the first to die, with nineteen blows to the back of h Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one. My dad used to recite that to me when I was a kid, (Yes, I know. My upbringing was not unlike that of Wednesday Addams...) so often in fact, that I thought HE was the one who'd made it up. According to this book, that charming children's rhyme came into being during Borden's well publicized trial. Lizzie's step-mother was the first to die, with nineteen blows to the back of her head. But you can't chop your Mama up in Massachusetts Not even if you're tired of her cuisine. No, you can't chop your Mama up in Massachusetts You know it's almost sure to cause a scene. A few hours later, her father suffered ten fierce and heavy blows to the head and face. 'Cause you can't chop your Papa up in Massachusetts Not even if it's planned as a surprise. No, you can't chop your Papa up in Massachusetts You know how neighbors love to criticize. But, was Lizzie the one responsible for these heinous crimes? There were other suspects - the mysterious John V. Morse, a visiting relative, Lizzie's older sister, Emma, the family maid, and a suspicious-looking man who was seen loitering near the Borden household. But, Lizzie was the one who went on trial, incurring everlasting infamy, before being declared "not guilty" by the jury. This nifty little graphic novel offers no definitive answers - just the facts, ma'am. No one will ever know what really happened on that sweltering August day in 1892. The account presented here is adapted from the unpublished memoirs of one of the residents of Fall River, Massachusetts. It's an interesting read that will leave you speculating as to what really went on in the Borden household. Some folks say she didn't do it And others say of course she did. But they all agree Miss Lizzie B Was a problem kind of kid. *All song lyrics taken from Lizzie Borden by The Chad Mitchell Trio Listen to the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wlO-J... - The video shows the Borden house and photos of the crime scenes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Seth T.

    First, a badly-penned haiku review: Clinical and dry, Soulless, heartless recountment. Just as it should be. When an author hopes to present violent, violent history in a way that obscures entirely his own bias, he will most likely aim for a voice of narrative detachment. Thus cut off from the presence of the author’s overt guidance, readers are better able to take in the illusion that they are not being guided. That their experience of the history unfurling before them approaches objectivity. With First, a badly-penned haiku review: Clinical and dry, Soulless, heartless recountment. Just as it should be. When an author hopes to present violent, violent history in a way that obscures entirely his own bias, he will most likely aim for a voice of narrative detachment. Thus cut off from the presence of the author’s overt guidance, readers are better able to take in the illusion that they are not being guided. That their experience of the history unfurling before them approaches objectivity. With The Borden Tragedy (the first volume of the Treasury of Victorian Murder that I’ve been able to get my hands on), Rick Geary succeeds ably in preparing the illusion. His art (actually very reminiscent of Rick Griffin’s work) is not sensationalist and his camera angles are subdued. Even moments of great horror—such as a hatchet cleaving the back of a woman’s head—are presented so modestly that the reader hardly imagines the images being taken in are great terrors. Geary does a fantastic job of using his art to distance readers from the viscera of the actual events. He further draws readers into the sense that they are impartial observers to the gratuitous murders of Abby and Andrew Borden by telling the story almost exclusively through the journaling of a female acquaintance of the accused Lizzie. This isn’t Geary’s report of things nor the sensationalist speculation of a newspaper that only wishes to boost subscriptions. Instead, we are given a narrator with curiosity in the case of a woman whose prior demeanor hardly matched that of a reckless killer. This prompts a detached examination of events, compiled years later and apart from any of the natural hysteria that would likely govern in the season following Lizzie Borden’s arrest and trial. Readers can certainly understand that our narrator may have some emotional involvement that may colour her reportage, but as we’re aware of that, we can look for clues that might belie her telling. The trick of course is that even taking into account that the narrator is a party outside Geary’s control, the entire book, from art to writing is his own production. And it’s a trick he pulls off wonderfully. Geary chooses the scenes to portray and how to do so. He chooses the words to report. He chooses the expressions to give his characters, where to place them in the rooms, how to depict their eyes. All of these things are fabrications he uses to tell the story he wishes to tell, and yet: for the space of those eighty pages, I never once was drawn out of his narrative to ask, What does Geary think? Where is he leading me? And then even so—and this may be due his own lack of personal conviction regarding the identity of the murderer—after finishing the book and setting it down, I still felt that I was unable to come to any conclusions as to either the killer’s true identity or where Geary himself comes down. And then again, perhaps this agnosticism was Geary’s goal for me. The Borden Tragedy is a short work and while not as thrilling as many examples of true crime literature, it serves as a fantastic primer to a famous unsolved double murder. Geary’s talent as a comics creator is evident and I’m now looking forward to collecting all of his Treasury Volumes. [review courtesy of Good Ok Bad]

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    On August 4 1892, the bodies of Mr and Mrs Borden were found brutally murdered in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts . Also in their house were Mr Borden's daughter Lizzie and their servant, Bridget Sullivan. Mrs Borden (Lizzie’s stepmother) was murdered first in her bedroom and then approximately 2 hours later Mr Borden was murdered in the sitting room. Both murders were carried out by a hatchet. Both Lizzie and Bridget were shocked at the murders but claimed not to have heard or seen anyt On August 4 1892, the bodies of Mr and Mrs Borden were found brutally murdered in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts . Also in their house were Mr Borden's daughter Lizzie and their servant, Bridget Sullivan. Mrs Borden (Lizzie’s stepmother) was murdered first in her bedroom and then approximately 2 hours later Mr Borden was murdered in the sitting room. Both murders were carried out by a hatchet. Both Lizzie and Bridget were shocked at the murders but claimed not to have heard or seen anything to indicate a murderer. Lizzie was the prime and only real suspect in the case and was arrested. Rick Geary goes through the build up to the murders, then the day of the murders, and the case in the aftermath, in his usual detailed, unbiased and engrossing way. He creates real tension where there really shouldn't be and gives the reader a strong sense of the case's sensation at the time. Though I knew little about the case beforehand, I did expect to find out Lizzie was the murderer. As it turns out there were many aspects of the case that threw doubt on Lizzie's guilt. For example, Lizzie discovered the bodies of her parents and alerted the maid minutes after. Given the immediacy and shortened timeframe between the murder and the alert, as well as the particular brutality of the crimes, Lizzie would have had some measure of blood on her clothes as well as the look of someone who had exerted considerable energy but she was spotless. Geary throws out a detail of the time which is inadvertently funny - he writes that there were a number of axe-wielding maniacs running about the countryside at this time! The suspected murderer then would have been one of these maniacs brandishing an axe who had broken into the house and committed the crimes. There was a similar murder that took place a couple of weeks after the Borden murders where an immigrant murdered a scorned love interest with an axe (though this man was cleared of the Borden case after it was found the man wasn't in the country at the time of the murders). There are some intriguing details that point to Lizzie Borden as the murderer. The following day Lizzie is seen by her sister, maid, and neighbour burning in the stove a dress with what looked like blood all over it that she claimed was paint. Also the maid claimed to have heard giggling in the time between the murder of the stepmother and the murder of the father – chilling, and possibly signalling hysteria over the acts. There is also the curious case of the 2 hours between murders. That would have meant that someone would have had to have hidden somewhere in the house for 2 hours before committing murder #2. Yet both Lizzie and the maid were quite active that morning so a hidden person would have surely been spotted/heard. Anyway, I'll stop there. All details of the case are explored in this book and Geary also includes several newspaper facsimiles from the time to illustrate the sensation of the case on the world. I actually came away thinking Lizzie was innocent but none the wiser as to who had committed the murders and why. And yet someone did. Madness. Fascinating reading!

  5. 4 out of 5

    L. McCoy

    SUPER FAST REVIEW: I should start by saying I’m not a huge true crime fan. I read a bit and watch the occasional Dateline or 20/20 episode but it’s not something I’m super into. I also am not someone who has strong opinions on or knows big piles of info on Lizzie Borden. Maybe some who are more into true crime will like it more. For me, it’s okay. So the story is without a doubt interesting and it’s meant to make the reader more unsure on whether or not Lizzie actually killed her parents. This boo SUPER FAST REVIEW: I should start by saying I’m not a huge true crime fan. I read a bit and watch the occasional Dateline or 20/20 episode but it’s not something I’m super into. I also am not someone who has strong opinions on or knows big piles of info on Lizzie Borden. Maybe some who are more into true crime will like it more. For me, it’s okay. So the story is without a doubt interesting and it’s meant to make the reader more unsure on whether or not Lizzie actually killed her parents. This book talks about things that are compelling evidence that she didn’t do it but also has some evidence to suggest that she may have so that’s interesting. I don’t like how slow this book can often be. I also should mention how it’s an informational book, not as much of a story being told which means the pictures do very little for this book and it’s “storytelling” (if you can still fully call it that) so I don’t understand why you’d even use the comic book format. I have mixed thoughts on the artwork’s quality. The scenery is very detailed and well drawn but I don’t care for how the people are drawn. Overall not bad and probably worth reading if you’re into true crime and/or are particularly interested in Lizzie Borden. If not, no reason to bother with this TBH. 3/5

  6. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    2.5 stars - this is an illustrated re-telling of the Borden murders, and the trial of Lizzie Borden. The illustrations weren't of a style I was overly fond of, but they were well done. All in black and white - but not something that would appeal to everyone, unless they had a particular interest in the subject. I apparently do not have that interest - personally I found the text to be a bit on the dull side as well. It's a very precise, methodical re-telling, easy enough to read even if it's not 2.5 stars - this is an illustrated re-telling of the Borden murders, and the trial of Lizzie Borden. The illustrations weren't of a style I was overly fond of, but they were well done. All in black and white - but not something that would appeal to everyone, unless they had a particular interest in the subject. I apparently do not have that interest - personally I found the text to be a bit on the dull side as well. It's a very precise, methodical re-telling, easy enough to read even if it's not the most engaging story. Also included in the back of the book are copies of articles run during the original investigation, which if anything I found even more dull (probably because reading them is largely just going over the same information that Geary passed on through the comic itself). It's a bit interesting, I suppose, to see the development of the investigation, but I mostly just skimmed the articles as I wasn't really interested in them. Overall it's a decent book, through probably more appealing to people with an interest in true crime.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    https://youtu.be/oVVnRWqSnwE https://youtu.be/oVVnRWqSnwE

  8. 5 out of 5

    La Coccinelle

    As I'm working through some of our local library's collection of graphic novel e-books, I've picked up a few that I never thought I would read. Earlier this year, I read one about the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and I actually found it fascinating. So I thought this book about the infamous 1892 murders might interest me as well. And it did. After so much time has passed, we might never know what actually happened in that house. There are arguments both for and against Lizzie being the killer... As I'm working through some of our local library's collection of graphic novel e-books, I've picked up a few that I never thought I would read. Earlier this year, I read one about the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, and I actually found it fascinating. So I thought this book about the infamous 1892 murders might interest me as well. And it did. After so much time has passed, we might never know what actually happened in that house. There are arguments both for and against Lizzie being the killer... and some arguments even overlap. Was she really trying to buy poison to kill her father and stepmother the day before the murders? Or was she simply wanting to clean a sealskin cape, as she said? How would she have managed to gruesomely kill both victims with an axe or hatchet--an act that surely would've resulted in a large amount of blood spatter--without getting a drop on her? (A witness who was at the scene within ten minutes saw no blood at all on Lizzie's clothes, skin, or hair... hair that was dry and styled, so couldn't possibly have been washed.) What of the carriage that was seen outside the house on the morning of the murders, or the mysterious man who was lurking around? There were all sorts of interesting facts presented in the graphic novel format. (For example, I was surprised to learn that Lizzie was actually charged with three murders: one for her father, one for her stepmother, and one for both of them together!) The story of what happened--as far as anyone knows--is revealed at a nice pace, without too much in the way of excess information that might have bogged things down. The included newspaper clippings at the end of the graphic novel part of the book were rather eye-opening. Journalism back in 1892 wasn't what it is today. There was so much conjecture, and so many worthless details, that the articles went on for pages (and they're in rather fine print, which made them a chore to read). But it was interesting to see how attitudes have changed. Even though Lizzie stood accused of murder, she was still treated as a delicate flower who needed to be protected from the rigours of the world... and the prison system. (She was given the matron's comfortable bedroom at one point, because she was deemed too ill for a regular cell.) It certainly didn't help matters that she was continually dosed with morphine for her anxiety after the murders; some of her contradictory statements could very well have been a result of being drugged! All in all, this was a fascinating look at an incident that happened so long ago, yet still captures the imagination. The black-and-white illustrations may be simple, but they work well with the subject matter. This would be a strong addition to any true crime book collection.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Matt Graupman

    In 1892, Lizzie Borden famously murdered her father and stepmother with an axe, a savage crime that shocked the world, and yet she was somehow acquitted. At least, that’s what I thought was the truth. Leave it to historical crime cartoonist extraordinaire Rick Geary to set me straight with “The Borden Tragedy: A Memoir Of The Infamous Double Murder At Fall River, Mass., 1892,” another gritty volume of his Victorian Murder comics series. Though the circumstantial evidence against Borden was damni In 1892, Lizzie Borden famously murdered her father and stepmother with an axe, a savage crime that shocked the world, and yet she was somehow acquitted. At least, that’s what I thought was the truth. Leave it to historical crime cartoonist extraordinaire Rick Geary to set me straight with “The Borden Tragedy: A Memoir Of The Infamous Double Murder At Fall River, Mass., 1892,” another gritty volume of his Victorian Murder comics series. Though the circumstantial evidence against Borden was damning, the brutal slayings were far from an open-and-shut case. Sensationally gruesome, the Borden Murders case was the O.J. Simpson trial of the late-19th century. The facts are too complex and contradictory to try and make sense of in this brief review so I’ll just focus on Geary’s handling of the material. Obviously, this kind of stuff is right in his wheelhouse. His precise, almost woodcut-y drawings perfectly depict the prim and proper 1890s while his research is thorough and clearly presented, not an easy task when you consider how much was written about Lizzie Borden and how much of that was later proven to be wild speculation or outright lies. This is vintage, grade-A Geary work. We’ll probably never know exactly what happened in that house on Second Street on a sweltering August morning. Thanks to Rick Geary, though, I have a much more complete picture of that awful crime. “The Borden Tragedy” is chilling.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anne Marie Sweeney

    Damn Girl. Give me a sign. Did you do it? Don’t actually. That would be frightening to hear from a deceased Lizzie Borden.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    I had seen a play last year on this subject and I thought both it and this book did a great job of sticking to the facts while acknowledging and exploring some of the theories people put forward about the murders. I enjoyed the graphic novel aspect and was glad the format was not used to add comic-book gore or sensation. The black and white drawings keep it feeling just creepy and claustrophobic enough.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ariel Wiborn

    I think my favorite thing about this graphic novel was that on the back there was a comparison of Lizzie Borden and OJ Simpson. A long list of traits was listed that fit them both, such as 'was an upstanding citizen', etc. It was a little spooky.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    I plucked this gem off the shelf for an evening's read. Rick Geary's art is, as always, astonishingly good, and I really appreciate how he tweaks his basic style for each project. Here, he adopts a slightly stiffer, more woodblock look to his figures, poses, landscapes and architecture, preserving an underlying feeling of a heavy, Victorian solemnity and weight of the time period and social class. Presented as if the narrative is derived from an unpublished manuscript written by a close associate I plucked this gem off the shelf for an evening's read. Rick Geary's art is, as always, astonishingly good, and I really appreciate how he tweaks his basic style for each project. Here, he adopts a slightly stiffer, more woodblock look to his figures, poses, landscapes and architecture, preserving an underlying feeling of a heavy, Victorian solemnity and weight of the time period and social class. Presented as if the narrative is derived from an unpublished manuscript written by a close associate of the Borden family that was composed within living memory of the event and then discovered long after (I have absolutely no idea if this is true or not), this book takes a surprisingly unexpected approach to the material, given that supposed source. It is dry, reserved and meticulous to a fault instead of being filled with lurid innuendo and unsupported gossip or theories. Because of the visual aspect of the medium, you get a real feel for the time and place of Fall River Massachusetts, as well as the people involved. Even the murders themselves are handled in a non-lurid manner. By providing the entire scenario in a non-tabloid fashion, you really feel how the nation and the world may have been gripped by such an event - one of the closest historical events to a real "locked room mystery". Quite literally *so* much is known about the event (The Borden Murders truly are the most Victorian of murders, in which the obsessive detail-recording and punctuality of the time leaves us a treasure trove of evidence), the principal suspects' whereabouts, the timelines, the testimonies and so on - that it seems inconceivable that we still do not have an answer. And likely never will barring some indisputable record of a confession hidden for the ages, or the invention of time travel. You will leave this books wondering just what happened on that hot day...and you will likely die still wondering. ADDED NOTE - I never knew the classic children's Lizzie Borden rhyme was set to the tune of Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-Di-Ay! Makes sense!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    In the past few years, I've taken to telling my friends I'm going to get married at the Lizzie Borden B&B in Fall River - and make my bridal party spend the night before the wedding in this haunted little inn. So it should come as no shock that I thoroughly enjoyed Geary's adaptation of this sensational Victorian murder. The book is surprisingly balanced view of the days leading up to and preceding the murders of Andrew and Abby Bordern in their home on August 4, 1892. Those convinced of Lizzie's In the past few years, I've taken to telling my friends I'm going to get married at the Lizzie Borden B&B in Fall River - and make my bridal party spend the night before the wedding in this haunted little inn. So it should come as no shock that I thoroughly enjoyed Geary's adaptation of this sensational Victorian murder. The book is surprisingly balanced view of the days leading up to and preceding the murders of Andrew and Abby Bordern in their home on August 4, 1892. Those convinced of Lizzie's apparent guilt, might change their mind when they discover how little evidence there was (the back cover goes so far as to draw comparisons between Lizzie and OJ Simpson). Told from the perspective of a "childhood friend" of the Borden sisters, Geary uses facts and images to walk us through what is known of the murders. Favorite new fact I learned: Andrew Borden considered hallways wasted space! The Borden house was (is?) a maze of rooms leading from one to another through a series of interconnected doors. The book concludes with clippings from period newspaper articles, reporting on the murder, speculating on the assailant, and covering the trial and acquittal. Certainly a fast and Halloween appropriate read! Next I'll track down Geary's look at H. H. Holmes - America's first serial killer and owner of his own murder castle. Oh October, you bring out the best and worst in me. :)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Inge

    I have to say that the most fascinating part of the book was the comparison between the OJ Simpson murders and the Borden murders. Also, the Borden house had no hallways. Mr. Borden didn't believe in hallways. Who doesn't believe in hallways? The house was a two-floor maze of rooms.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Krista Ivy

    Ever wanted to know the details behind the Lizzie Borden tragedy but didn't want to sit thru reading a dusty/dry book? Read the graphic novel version (this beauty) and learn the facts while loving the artwork.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    I loved this slim graphic novel. It is based on the anonymous memoirs of one of Lizzie Borden's peers.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    What a fun little chunk of a book. The way Geary presents the events reminds me of an 1800s version of Forensic Files. Recommended as a breath of fresh air between books.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This was an interesting little read. I'm not sure the graphic format is the first thing I'd think of as a way to tell some of the darkest, and most famous true crime stories in our history but Rick Geary might just be onto something if he could just trust his source material and perhaps work on his figure drawing just a tad. We all know the rhyme; Lizzie Border took an axe and gave her mother forty wacks When she saw what she had done She gave her father forty-one The murder of Abby and Andrew Borden This was an interesting little read. I'm not sure the graphic format is the first thing I'd think of as a way to tell some of the darkest, and most famous true crime stories in our history but Rick Geary might just be onto something if he could just trust his source material and perhaps work on his figure drawing just a tad. We all know the rhyme; Lizzie Border took an axe and gave her mother forty wacks When she saw what she had done She gave her father forty-one The murder of Abby and Andrew Borden has gone down as one of the most infamous unsolved mysteries in American history. It was a quiet morning in Fall River, Massachusetts when Abby and Andrew Borden were horrifically murdered by someone weilding an ax. It was Lizzie herself who discovered her father lying dead in his study on the couch she had previously helped him settle on when he returned from some business. Shortly after discovering him authorities discovered Lizzie's stepmother Abby also dead from a variety of brutal axe wounds in an upstairs bedroom. Lizzie's subsequent arrest and trial were the sensation of the nation and though she was eventually acquitted of all charges history has not exactly been kind to her. While many felt there was indeed too much reasonable doubt to convict her the authorities were also never able to identify another suspect with the opportunity, motive or means of committing the murders. Rick Geary chooses to tell his story with simplistic (sometimes overly) black and white drawings that sort of suggest MAD magazine cartoons. There's an unfinished quality to things as though he decided to publish early sketches rather then finished drawings. He also tries an understandable device of having a distant friend of Lizzie's narrate the story as though she's personally investigating what really happened. I get it, its meant to give a more personal touch to the narrative. It doesn't work primarily because we know nothing about this woman and Geary himself seems to sort of forget she's supposed to be telling the story. I would have been perfectly happy with just a straight retelling of the story without a mary sue being shoehorned in. I definitely learned some interesting little tidbits about a case that is, if nothing else, very intriguing. Lizzie and her family lived a very complicated and combative life and had she been born in another time she would have benefitted greatly from some kind of therapeutic intervention and perhaps a career to use her many (repressed) talents and energy. Instead she lived a life of stifling propriety with a father too cheap and autocratic to give his daughters the opportunity of at least a pleasurable life despite a vast fortune that could have made them all comfortable and happy. Is it possible that Lizzie simply lost it? Stifled for too long under her father's endless rules and restrictions and increasingly wrathful over his clear intentions to give much of her inheritence to his new wife's family? Yes it is. But its equally possible that she was simply the most convenient person to lay the blame on for a group of investigators who did a shoddy job at best and simply had to arrest someone. I guess we'll never know....

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Wright

    I read this immediately after reading Geary's book on the Black Dahlia murder, so I can't help but compare and contrast the two. I'm a long-time comic book reader, but new to the true crime genre. I was passingly familiar with some of Rick Geary's other works, but somehow had no idea he had done a whole series on Victorian and 20th century murders. At first glance, I was a little put off by the art, to be honest. It's very dense with lots of thick black lines and almost no space in between panels I read this immediately after reading Geary's book on the Black Dahlia murder, so I can't help but compare and contrast the two. I'm a long-time comic book reader, but new to the true crime genre. I was passingly familiar with some of Rick Geary's other works, but somehow had no idea he had done a whole series on Victorian and 20th century murders. At first glance, I was a little put off by the art, to be honest. It's very dense with lots of thick black lines and almost no space in between panels, creating a very cramped and busy-looking page. But, once I got into the story, the art style was perfect for the subject at hand. Geary is very crisp and precise, especially with his architectural drawings. That's very important for this story, as Geary maps out the rooms of the house, which is necessary for getting a clear picture of the events surrounding the murders. As a storyteller, Geary is just as detailed yet concise. While the narration in the Black Dahlia book was simple and no-nonsense, here (where it's supposedly adapted from a recently discovered memoir by a contemporary townsperson) we get a little more flavor and color. There's more of a sense of intimate, or at least familiar, knowledge of the people involved. I knew a fair amount about the Lizzie Borden case before reading this, but it's a great introduction for people who don't know much about her. Geary's presentation is a great overview of the case, but it's also brimming with interesting details. He lays out a lot of the clues and unexplained oddities. While reading, I swung back and forth in my mind between being convinced she was guilty and having serious, reasonable doubts.

  21. 5 out of 5

    tony dillard jr

    Victorian true crime writer and artist Rick Geary recounts the events of the Lizzie Borden murders. A big fan of Geary's, I was ecstatic to read his take on the crime. In college, when I was a history major (not culinary), I did a research paper on Lizzie Border. It was a fascinating murder mystery that due to Border being found not guilty, is still considered unsolved to this day. Plus, this case was when I realized that my focus of study wasn't going to go the traditional route. But then again Victorian true crime writer and artist Rick Geary recounts the events of the Lizzie Borden murders. A big fan of Geary's, I was ecstatic to read his take on the crime. In college, when I was a history major (not culinary), I did a research paper on Lizzie Border. It was a fascinating murder mystery that due to Border being found not guilty, is still considered unsolved to this day. Plus, this case was when I realized that my focus of study wasn't going to go the traditional route. But then again, when do I do anything like everybody else??? Rick Geary's work is one that collects the clues all the way from eyewitness accounts to sensationalized reporting to the court cases themselves. In no way does Geary express his bias onto the story. It's just the facts and nothing but the facts. Well, in the case of the Borden murders, since a suspect was never found guilty of the crimes, there's theory. But again, those theories are based on police and medical examiner findings and not the author's opinion. I hit the mother lode at my local library recently. I've got 5 more Rick Geary graphic novels left to read and with it getting closer to fall and October, I am getting pumped to read some spooky stuff. You can't build upon the Halloween atmosphere any better with Gothic mysteries. Especially when these case files are all true!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Taren

    2018 ULTIMATE book challenge - (graphic novel) Most of us have heard the name "Borden" at some point. But have you looked a little further into the reason that name rings a bell? Lizzy Borden, to be exact. She's the reason that name has been penned in history. As you can tell from the title of the book, the name does not bring joy & laughter to one's mind when the name is brought up. Lizzy Borden is thought to be the likely ax murderer of his father & step-mother. Author Rick Geary once again tel 2018 ULTIMATE book challenge - (graphic novel) Most of us have heard the name "Borden" at some point. But have you looked a little further into the reason that name rings a bell? Lizzy Borden, to be exact. She's the reason that name has been penned in history. As you can tell from the title of the book, the name does not bring joy & laughter to one's mind when the name is brought up. Lizzy Borden is thought to be the likely ax murderer of his father & step-mother. Author Rick Geary once again tells a gruesome, disturbing story in such a way that makes it possible for the reader to learn more about this terrible tragedy without being left in some dark, weird state of mind. This is the 2nd of Geary's tragedy books that I've read. So far, both stories ended with the murderers disappearing without a trace or being found "not guilty" despite mounting evidence against them. I am beginning to think that these are the sad tales Geary sets out to tell - ones with endings that are against what they feel they should be. But since he writes of historic events, there is no changing the endings to suit the reader's fancy. Age recommendation: 14 & up (murder, gory detail) On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 6.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gayle Francis Moffet

    This is a really interesting comic. Geary took a memoir from the time period that discusses the Bordern murders at length and laid it over his art. It's a great read if you have an interest in the Borden story, and it's also a great read if you have an interest in the visual aspect of comics. The memoir isn't sensational or explosive. It's a carefully measured review of the events by an unknown author (the work has been vetted by several historians), and Geary's art reflects that in his very dow This is a really interesting comic. Geary took a memoir from the time period that discusses the Bordern murders at length and laid it over his art. It's a great read if you have an interest in the Borden story, and it's also a great read if you have an interest in the visual aspect of comics. The memoir isn't sensational or explosive. It's a carefully measured review of the events by an unknown author (the work has been vetted by several historians), and Geary's art reflects that in his very down-on-the-ground look at the case. At times, when the written narrative doesn't have an easy visual equivalent, Geary knows how to move the story along with images the reflect the story rather than try to make a visual that won't fit quite right.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Martin

    This book really laid out the basics with absolutely no bias. I want to learn more about this case now because I felt like this was such a neutral introduction with straight up hard facts about the famous tragedy. I am ready to delve more into the theories surrounding this case but have a pretty clear understanding of the who, what, where and when. The illustrations were informative without glamorizing the actual gore of the murders. This was a great way to introduce the main points of a true cr This book really laid out the basics with absolutely no bias. I want to learn more about this case now because I felt like this was such a neutral introduction with straight up hard facts about the famous tragedy. I am ready to delve more into the theories surrounding this case but have a pretty clear understanding of the who, what, where and when. The illustrations were informative without glamorizing the actual gore of the murders. This was a great way to introduce the main points of a true crime story that one may want to learn more about in the future. I will definitely read more from this series!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    The Borden Traged is an illustrated re-telling of the Borden Family murders and is told from the point of view of one of Lizzie's childhood friends. The Introduction explains that this specific account is adapted from the unpublished memoirs of an unknown Fall River, Massachusetts neighbor. These manuscripts apparently were found in a 1990 estate sale. A neat little graphic novel. Very short and quick. Mainly focuses on the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden, as well as Lizzie's on trial.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Colene Hardy

    It's short, it's interesting, and it has lots of pictures. Graphic novels are such a great addition to the non-fiction reading world. I wanted to understand this mystery of history a bit better. If you are curious as to what we really know and dont know about Lizzie and the infamous murders, this is a great choice.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Garcia

    Geary can do little wrong, and here he's at the height of his artistry. The style of this one is a major part of why I keep coming back and back to it!I've probably read it fifty times and there is so much detail, so much perfection that I am always forced to go all the way through

  28. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I liked the book a lot and the main story line of it. It left you guessing about who really committed the crime, or if you think it was the culprit the whole time. It is good for people who like mystery books and who want to make up their own ending to the story.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dubzor

    I really don't know why he had added the narrative from the neighbor. It really doesn't add anything to the book. Otherwise, it's a great rundown of the case with a lot of details I had never heard before.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kaley

    I read this for a work project. Normally not something I'd pick for myself so any rating is super subjective here.

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