Five Real Life Femme Fatales...

Five Real Life Femme Fatales…

Don’t underestimate the fairer sex when it comes to having the steel to commit serial murder. You hear it all the time in crime shows and mysteries: the false, sexist perception that there are few, if any, female serial killers outside of fiction. This mistaken belief can be traced back to 1998 when an FBI […]

Dealey Plaza

Five Great JFK Conspiracy Reads, and Why the Genre is Important

Five Great JFK Conspiracy Reads, and Why the Genre is Important Sometimes described as the Great Dragon of Conspiracies, the “Assassination of JFK” is undergoing a dramatic shift. It is fast fading into that realm of myth and lore where other dragons reside, where memories fade and murky legend becomes all that is left. A […]

10 Surprising Facts About the Roaring Twenties Many read Roaring Twenties and picture Gatsby-inspired parties. But what else did the 1920s bring? Some of the revelations, fads, and nuances of this era may surprise you. 1. While the 18th Amendment made the manufacture, import, and sale of beer, wine, and hard liquor illegal, Prohibition did not make it illegal to actually drink alcohol. It was bottoms up if you could get the hooch in your cup. 2. Many believe speakeasies began popping up during the 1920s, but these illegal establishments date back to the 1880s, referring to unlicensed bars where patrons were implored to “speak easy” as not to draw the law’s attention. 3. The introduction of sleeveless dresses made it important for women to remove “objectionable hair.” Prior to this revolution in ladies’ clothing, even the word underarm was considered shocking because of the body part’s proximity to a woman’s bossom. 4. The fashions of the Twenties also included higher hemlines, baring more of a woman’s gams. Even still, most women shrugged at the idea of shaving their legs. 5. While the Roaring Twenties often reflected an era of prosperity and revelry, many farmers struggled due to falling farm prices after the high production of World War I, resulting in one in four farms being sold. 6. Many of the brand-name foods we enjoy today originated during the 1920s, such as Wonder Bread, Baby Ruth Candy Bars, Yoo-Hoo Chocolate Drink, Kool-Aid, Welch's Grape Jelly, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Wheaties, Hostess Cakes, Peter Pan Peanut Butter, Velveeta Cheese, and more. 7. Fads and other spectator sports often began as dares; for example, Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly, a professional stuntman, was dared to sit atop a flagpole. People took notice and Kelly later set the World Record for pole sitting at 49 days with a crowd of 20,000 gawkers. 8. The most famous gangsters of the Roaring Twenties all had nicknames: Al "Scarface" Capone, George “Bugs” Moran, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, and Jack "Legs" Diamond. The odd man out was Dutch Schultz. 9. While the word teenager wasn’t used until decades later, the teenage mindset began during the 1920s with the wider use of automobiles, allowing adolescents less supervision, greater independence, and easier, more private access to “bedrooms on wheels.” 10. Fortuitously, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin during the 1920s after returning from a two-week vacation to find that, before he left for his holiday, he had accidentally contaminated an experiment. That contamination prevented the growth of bacteria, which penicillin is now used to treat.

10 Surprising Facts About the Roaring Twenties

10 Surprising Facts About the Roaring Twenties   Many read Roaring Twenties and picture Gatsby-inspired parties. But what else did the 1920s bring? Some of the revelations, fads, and nuances of this era may surprise you.   While the 18th Amendment made the manufacture, import, and sale of beer, wine, and hard liquor illegal, Prohibition […]

Top Five Creepiest Serial Killers

Top Five Creepiest Serial Killers

Top Five Creepiest Serial Killers I’m not a serial killer groupie, but I definitely enjoy a good, twisted story of evil. I often say that if I’d known myself better in college (read: hadn’t been a dumb kid with zero confidence), I would have gone into criminal psychology. Now I create bad guys worthy of […]

THE TRIP TO DOTY ROAD THE INTERROGATION David Bates (Illinois exoneree), as told to Sara Paretsky

THE TRIP TO DOTY ROAD THE INTERROGATION David Bates (Illinois exoneree), as told to Sara Paretsky (Part I)

THE TRIP TO DOTY ROAD THE INTERROGATION David Bates (Illinois exoneree), as told to Sara Paretsky   few can imagine any circumstances that would lead them to confess to a crime they didn’t commit, espe­cially if the crime is a heinous one. But false confessions happen often, sometimes because the people who con­fess are overwhelmed […]

Top Ten Literary Spies

Top Ten Literary Spies

Top Ten Literary Spies Movies depict spies and writers idling around disreputable gin joints in disheveled trench coats or sporting tuxedos and tossing quips between martinis. Implausibly, practitioners of writing and espionage not only share many of the same occupational clichés, they are frequently intertwined in a secret world. “I won’t say I’m interested in […]

WASHINGTON’S TOP TEN SPY SITES

WASHINGTON’S TOP TEN SPY  SITES…Plus ONE Espionage’s most sensitive secrets are often hidden in plain sight. A white chalk mark on a mailbox, a construction worker’s discarded dirty glove, an unattended garbage bag, even a dead rat will go unnoticed and untouched by passersby absorbed in their daily routine. However, for the spy, each of […]

FIVE THINGS BEING CRIMINAL LAWYER TAUGHT ME ABOUT WRITING

FIVE THINGS BEING CRIMINAL LAWYER TAUGHT ME ABOUT WRITING

FIVE THINGS BEING CRIMINAL LAWYER TAUGHT ME ABOUT WRITING Complexity of Characters The need for complexity in fictional characters extends to criminal characters. Crimes are not the exclusive realm of one-dimensional individuals. I learned as a criminal defense lawyer that being charged with a crime shakes people to their core. The prospect of spending a […]

How True Crime and Fiction Intersect

How True Crime and Fiction Intersect

We’re Having a Collision here! How True Crime and Fiction Intersect In preparing to teach a class next semester on popular fiction—including science fiction, mysteries, horror, thrillers, and fantasy—I’m learning and thinking a lot about these genres, even after having written a novel marketed as a psychological thriller and another described as a mystery. Studying […]

DVD Review– The Witness

DVD Review– The Witness The story of Kitty Genovese is supposedly well known. A young woman was brutally murdered in the middle of the night in New York. Well over thirty people witnessed the attack, but nobody did anything. The crime became a symbol of the city’s moral decay, the people who refused to get […]