The Best New True Crime Stories: Crimes of Passion, Obsession & Revenge – Review
By Sarah Morgan
A while ago I reviewed The Best New True Crime Stories: Small Towns, the second in editor Mitzi Szereto’s series focusing on, as you’ve probably guessed from the title, real-life horrors.
Just a year on and the collection now features four volumes, the latest focusing on crimes of passion, obsession and revenge.
Once again, Szereto has drawn on a network of writers from around the world to report on and offer insights into shocking events, each carried out either on the spur of the moment, as the culprit was overtaken by bloodlust, or planned by someone keen to make their opponent pay for a previous misdemeanour.
There are some fascinating tales here, including Priscilla Scott Rhoades’ account of unfailingly polite gay Brink’s Security guard George Manuel Bosque’s sudden decision to make off with the huge amount of worn-out cash he was supposed to be escorting to a furnace to be burned. I don’t want to give too much away, but how he spent it was pretty remarkable and led to him being dubbed ‘the nicest thief in the world’.
Shashi Kadapa’s Revenge of the Nagpur Women is, however, one of those stories that seems too incredible to be true – how one violent criminal got away with rape, murder, torture and extortion for years, until a group of women took matters into their own hands after being denied justice by a corrupt police force.
I’ve read lots of horror and crime fiction over the years, but the graphic descriptions of the villain’s activities were at times a little too strong for my stomach.
A couple of other notable cases include the efforts of a Victorian woman to seemingly poison the entire population of Brighton after being spurned by the woman she loved, and a tortured young man’s twisted decision to murder a girl he’d met online, her parents and best friend, following a disappointing face-to face visit.
Some tales are, however, instantly forgettable – but that will probably always happen in a book with a large selection of stories set in different places and eras; what appeals to some readers will no doubt leave others cold.
Szereto is already working on the next entry in the series – Partners in Crime – which will be published next year. No doubt it, too, will be well worth a look.
‘The Best New True Crime Stories: Crimes of Passion, Obsession & Revenge’ from Mitzi Szereto is published by Mango