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Lizzie Didn't Do It! [Paperback]

William L. Masterton , Masterton
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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2.0 out of 5 stars The Mystery Unsolved April 14 2003
William L. Masterton has a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry and retired as a full Professor from the University of Connecticut in 1987. He had a long standing interest in this case, and began research after he retired (p.8). Chapters 1 to 8 give his short history of this crime, chapters 9 to 16 give his "solution". Many books have been written on the Borden Murders; the Sources on page 7 do not list those by E. Pearson and F. Spiering. Only two people were alive in that house after 11am. Lizzie was the likeliest suspect, but she couldn't have done it, and the jury agreed.
"Early accounts of the crime were loaded with factual errors" (p.18). This is a warning against using unverified newspaper records (p.8). Did Andrew Borden prosper handsomely (p.24)? The truth is that Andrew induced grieving customers to sign up for loans, then called these loans to foreclose on the homes. Andrew got rich by swindling widows and orphans! He became richer by buying into banks and factories, and real estate in growing Fall River. If one of his tenants received a higher salary, Andrew raised his rent. Andrew sold products from his home (p.25); he bought spoiled apple cider and sold it as vinegar. Page 34 quotes Bridget on the murders: "I'd be afraid to say anything at all. If I did, that terrible man that killed poor Mrs Borden might come back and kill me too." What did she know and when did she know it?
Page 94 asks why Lizzie didn't burn that dress before the police searched the house. That would have left a residue in the stove. Page 107 talks about the three doors, but says nothing about cellar windows being used to get into the house. Page 124 says the assassin could go upstairs to the guest room to hide, but be discovered by Abby. The jury found Lizzie not guilty.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book Nov. 6 2000
I thought that this was a very interesting book. At first, I was put off by the cover, which has the title smeared in blood-covered ink. (They could've been a little more subtle.) I also thought the book could've used tighter editing. Nonetheless, the further I got into the book, the more intrigued I got. The writer brings out certain information -- regarding the note that Lizzie claimed was delivered that morning, and the possible purchase of prussic acid -- that I'd never come across before (and I've read a lot about this case). He also mentions other suspects that people haven't considered. At the very least, he makes it less likely that indeed Lizzie did it.
Central to his thesis, though, is the belief that the Bordens were actually killed at about the same time and Mr. Borden first. This goes against a hundred years of tradition. I've actually wondered myself whether the doctors may have been wrong at the time -- but it still seems to me that the likelihood is that they were killed some time apart, with Mrs. Borden having been killed first.
It's interesting that practically all the books that have come out in the past ten years about the case have pointed at people other than Lizzie. That may be a good thing. Despite the legend about the case, there were plenty of people at the time of the trial who thought Lizzie was innocent. Her notoriety may not be deserved.
Of all the books on this case, the one I've thought best-written (though not without its flaws) is Edward Radin's 1961 book Lizzie Borden: The Untold Story. Radin's theory is that the maid, Bridget Sullivan, did it. Radin points out that there have been many cases when servants killed employers, and Bridget did have opportunity. (She also may have had it in for Mrs. Borden.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Masterton Didn't Do It! (Solve the Crime) Oct. 2 2000
By A Customer
The author is a retired chemistry professor who wrote many textbooks on chemistry. He had been interested in the Borden Murders for decades. After he retired, he began his research by reading the microfilmed Fall River newspapers from that time, and other sources. His book is his solution to the mystery; but you can "come to your own conclusions".
The index has an entry for "Simpson trial", but not one for "Eagan, Ellan". His sources do not list Edmund Pearson's 1935 book (which is not generally available); it was the first book to renew interest in this unsolved crime. The book contains some reproductions from those newspapers, but some of the photographs are of low quality. He imagined a "simple logical explanation" for the missing note to Abby. In Chapter 14 he created a new theory: Andrew was killed first, then Abby! This goes against all known facts of the case, and the testimony of those who were present. He did not explain the purpose of his theory; could it have been caused by a more recent event where the time of death could be calculated by the fresh red liquid blood of the victims? The author attempted a solution to the mystery; I think he should have done more research.
Arnold R. Brown's book is still the best solution; he did more research, and had the hometown advantage. A number of minor spelling mistakes suggest that this book was rushed to publication.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant reading. May 22 2000
Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks, when she found what she done, she gave her father 41 - or did she? What if Lizzie Borden wasn't the killer, then who did it? William Masterton thinks is was someone else and his books may just have the answers.
Fall River Massachusetts is the location of one of America's most brutal murders. In 1892 Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the crime, but over 100 years later people still consider her the killer. Masterton pieces together, through forensics, a highly convincing argument to the contrary of public opinion.
The books looks at the evidence gathered, breaks it down and details why Lizzie Borden could not and was not the killer. I was a skeptic of the book until I started to openly evaluate what the author was relaying throughout the entire book.
Masterton had to have worked overtime to answer the most difficult questions. His work is impeccable and his research is by far the best if have ever seen on this subject. This book Masterton has changed my thinking on the case - you might want to read this one too.
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