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Harry Farrell worked as a newspaper journalist for 40 years in San Jose, California. His first book, Swift Justice, about a 1930s kidnap-murder case that ended in a lynching of the perpetrators, won the Edgar Award for best fact crime of 1992. Shallow Grave in Trinity County is equally brilliant. In steady prose that is rich with details, Farrell describes how a weak-minded and repellent UC-Berkeley student was apprehended and convicted of the kidnap-murder of a 14-year-old girl, in the comparatively peaceful times of the 1950s. Shallow Grave is a model of how a true crime book should be written: the text is clear, chronological, compassionate, unembellished, and quietly gripping. Farrell not only gives readers all the facts of the case, both relevant and irrelevant, he also provides three maps of the region on which the exact sequence of the killer's actual movements (vs. those he alleged in his testimony) can be traced. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
YA?Did Burton Abbott really kidnap and kill 12-year-old Stephanie Bryan in the spring of 1955? Although the truth will never be known, Farrell shows the frustration and lack of clues that the police and FBI encountered after the child disappeared on her way home from school. Three months later, Abbott and his wife found several of the girl's belongings in their cellar. When they called the police, they never imagined that Abbott would become the main suspect in this grizzly crime, but layer by layer, the investigation pointed to him as the guilty party. As the numerous clues and witnesses are presented in the text, the author footnotes names, dates, and events, reminding readers who these people are and how they are interrelated. Photographs from the investigation and trial are included. Much of the evidence would not be admissible in court today. This is also noted and explained in relation to modern laws and technology. Using old police and court files, Farrell re-creates this chilling crime while leaving his readers to judge for themselves whether Abbott was guilty as charged or innocent as he proclaimed right up until his execution. YAs will find picking apart the pieces of evidence a challenge as they try to construct their own theories.?Anita Short, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
If you like true crime noir, this is one of the best in a long time! Harry Farrell has done a thorough job of researching this case, the result of which is a carefully detailed... Read morePublished on Jan. 5 1999
Farrell beautifully captures the flavor of the the Bay Area in the fifties, and gives us an extraordinarily well researched and suspensefully written account of a criminal case... Read morePublished on Sept. 30 1998
This is a good story about a true, horrible, murder. The fact that the perpetrator was executed less than two years after the crime speaks volumes about how our criminal justice... Read morePublished on March 4 1998