Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A Voice for the Dead

Behind the corpse in the reservoir, behind the ghost on the links,
Behind the lady who dances and the man who madly drinks,
Under the look of fatigue, the attack of migraine and the sigh
There is always another story, there is more than meets the eye.
W.H. Auden, "At Last the Secret is Out"

James E. Starrs, author of A Voice for the Dead, with coauthor Katherine Ramsland, quotes Auden's poem very appropriately. Starrs is a lawyer and forensic investigator. A Voice for the Dead is his story of the search for the truth in a number of historic cases. Did Alfred G. Packer actually kill and eat his fellow prospectors in Colorado in 1874? Who really shot Huey Long in the Louisiana State Capitol on Sept. 8, 1935? What really happened to Frank Olson, the CIA agent who fell thirteen stories to his death? Who is buried in Jesse James' grave? Was Mary Sullivan the last victim of Albert DeSalvo, the self-proclaimed Boston Strangler?

At times this book is difficult to read with its medical and forensic vocabulary, but Starrs' search for truth is always fascinating if you're interested in history or cold cases. When the book is finished, the biggest regret is that Starr has not been able to search for the truth behind Lizzie Borden or Meriwether Lewis.

1 comment:

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