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The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer

May 5, 2016

If you liked Devil in the White City

At last!  This nonfiction account of the American Jack the Ripper is perfect for fans of Devil in the White City.  It’s even set up the same way, with chapters about the crimes alternating with chapters about Austin, Texas in the late 1800’s.  Besides information about the killings and the subsequent manhunt, the book includes a wedding that took place at the State Lunatic Asylum, a surprising twist involving the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and glimpses of Austin life such as this:

As the weeks passed, there were more parties, including an “onion sociable” held at the home of a young Austin socialite. (The socialite and five of her female friends went into a bedroom, where one of the women took a bite of an onion, after which they all walked out into the parlor and were kissed by a young man who tried to guess who had onion breath.)

The crime was never solved, but Hollandsworth gives two convincing guesses in the epilogue.