by Colin Evans
Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction 2011.
America, 1916 a man on death row, hours from the Electric chair committed by avaricious private investigators, bent law enforcement agents and cheapjack forensic experts. Charles Stielow was a poor, ill-educated labourer convicted of the murder of his employer and housekeeper, convicted but innocent, his case became a notorious proving ground for real forensics. Stielow’s case has as many twists and turns as any high-powered thriller and Evans spins out the tension as he details the battle of Stielow’s defence to get him freed and the true killers convicted.
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It's Sing Sing Prison, New York, July 1916. Charles Frederick Stielow, a 37-year-old farmhand with the mind of an infant, is just minutes away from the electric chair for a double murder he didn't commit. With a vengeful legal system baying for blood, his situation looks hopeless. Eight blocks away, Stielow's wife sobs helplessly in her hotel room, certain she will never see her husband alive again... Slaughter on a Snowy Morn is the first full account of how Charles Stielow, convicted of murdering a wealthy landowner and his housekeeper, became the central figure in one of the most fascinating yet little-known stories in criminal history. The cast list includes New York State governor Charles Seymour Whitman - ambitious for the White House - and his nemesis, Sing Sing warden Thomas Mott Osborne, a passionate opponent of the death penalty, convinced of Stielow's innocence. The crooked 'expert' testimony of Albert H. Hamilton, a jumped-up druggist, condemns Stielow to death row, where the battle to save his life is led by America's most celebrated female lawyer, Grace Humiston. But the story's unsung hero is the obsessively secretive, quietly spoken Charles E. Waite - the great mystery man of American forensic science, whose experts tear Hamilton's testimony to shreds. Colin Evans presents a nail-biting true story of wrongful conviction and redemption in an age of bare-knuckle politics and cynical courtroom manoeuvring that changed for ever the face of American justice.
'An astonishing story and Colin Evans tells it with tremendous gusto ... he marshals all his research with great skill to produce a narrative as gripping and exciting as most thrillers.'
Waterstones Books Quarterly
'A stunner ... a true crime story for people who don't read true crime stories - because it's not really about the crime at all, it's about justice and the legal system - and a number of individuals fighting to overcome corruption and petty parochial stupidity - which makes for a riveting read.'
Publication date: 06/01/2011
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
|Publication date:||6th January 2011|
|Publisher:||Icon Books Ltd|
|Genres:||Crime / Mystery, The Real World,|
|Categories:||True crime, Corruption in society,|
Colin Evans is the author of several books specialising in forsensics. His books include The Casebook of Forensic Detection: How Science Solved 100 of the World's Most Baffling Crimes, and Father of Forensics (Icon, 2008)More About Colin Evans