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The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd : The Truth About an American Crime Legend Revealed at Last [Hardcover]

Jana Bommersbach
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

November 1992
The woman who allegedly committed one of history's most heinous crimes reveals for the first time--through an investigative reporter--her role in the notorious 1931 ""trunk murder."" 50,000 first printing. TV tie-in. Tour.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In one of the most sensational cases of the 1930s, Judd was accused of killing two women with whom she had previously shared an apartment in Phoenix, hacking up one of the bodies and taking all the remains in two trunks and a suitcase to L.A., where they were discovered. She confessed to various acts in connection with the murders, was found guilty and sentenced to die; on the eve of her execution she was judged insane, and she spent the years from 1932 to 1971 in confinement, escaping seven times but always being recaptured. Even at the time of her arrest and trial there were doubts that the petite, slight defendant had acted alone-doctors had quickly deduced that the hacked-up corpse had been dismembered with a surgical skill she did not possess-but the identity of her lover, a prominent businessman, Happy Jack Halloran, was kept out of the trial and the local papers. Phoenix-based journalist Bommersbach skillfully recaps the entire story, including suppression of evidence by the police, an inept courtroom defense and a vindictive juror. Those interested in women's causes will want to read her account, as will Arizona residentsalthough the portrait of 1930s Phoenix as the center of hypocrisy in the Southwest is unflattering. Photos not seen by PW. First semal to Phoenix magazine; Literary Guild alternate.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The "truth" about Winnie Ruth Judd appears as complicated as the "truth" about JFK's murder or Marilyn Monroe's death. In 1931, Winnie was found guilty of killing her two friends in Phoenix and dismembering the body of one. She spent almost 40 years in prisons and insane asylums. In setting out to research the crime, Bommersbach uncovers a welter of lies and unanswered questions. It is a sensational story. Consider a near-hysterical woman accompanying bloody trunks across the country and later hiding out in a closed department store. Consider that same woman subsequently escaping half a dozen times from the asylum--once to a six-year life of luxury. Now add in the seedy undercurrents of Depression-era lesbianism, political corruption, prostitution, drugs, and smelly cover-ups, and one has all the ingredients for a good mystery. What is shocking is not so much that Winnie could not have acted alone but that so many people over so many years perpetuated that lie. Bommersbach speculates about what really happened, but much is left open. She did interview Winnie Ruth Judd, but the frail old woman was cautious--apparently still fearing reprisals. This is recommended for true crime collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/92.
- Lois Walker, formerly with Winthrop Univ. Lib., Rock Hill, S.C.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars TRASHY ONE-SIDED ACCOUNT WITH NOTNING NEW AT ALL! April 25 2013
Format:Hardcover
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/4 having 270 pages and 16 photo pages.

"Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart."
TENNESSEE WILLIAMS

This author clearly demonstrates the significant difference between an author and a journalist.
From the very beginning of the story we are BOMBARDED with every subtle and not so subtle suggestion she can allude to.
Judd is FOREVER described as thin, frail, the most attractive of the 3...ad nauseum!
We hear ENDLESS stories from 'almost' witnesses and now aged children of maybe could have been witness if only they'd been called and so on.
One pathetic story tells us of 'evidence' of police skullduggery and evidence hiding and blundering.
It involves the daughter of a plumber.
According to her testimony ( given some 61 years later ) she's SURE she heard her dad tell her mum that HE had been the plumber the police called to clean out the drains in the murder house and he found evidence ( which naturally they decided to hide ).
Unfortunately there is NO SUCH RECORD of him or his 'plumbing' duties for the police...in fact evidence was that there was ANOTHER plumber called and there was NO EVIDENCE in the drains.
The author's conclusion.....police cover-up ...
The possibility that the plumber's daughter might be wrong or lying some 61 years later doesn't seem to occur to her, but rather the 'evidence' of this ancient 'witness'.
Similarly Winnie Judd's SEVERAL confessions ( all different by the way ) are to be DISMISSED by a BRAND NEW statement of fact......MADE 60 YEARS after the murders.
GEE......
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE TRUNK MURDERESS: WINNIE RUTH JUDD April 4 2000
By "esgdyer" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
THE TRUNK MURDERESS: WINNIE RUTH JUDD,by Jana Bommersbach. Winnie Ruth Judd never stood a chance in Phoenix, Arizona for justice. I read this book and now everytime I drive by the State Mental Hospital on Van Buren Street in Phoenix, I think of all the years that Winnie Ruth Judd spent there. This author's brilliant and time consuming research, plus she actually visited and slept at Winnie Ruth Judd's apartment and got the "true" story of all that happened from Winnie Ruth Judd, herself. The story took place in 1931, long before Phoenix became a major city, and is one of the most bizarre stories I have ever read. This is a fascinating story, and I could not put the book down until I had read from the front page to the last page.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second Book On Winnie Offers New Insights Oct. 10 2003
By Scott Coblio - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
the first book on the Judd case "Winnie Ruth Judd: The Trunk Murderess", is a better read than this one, probably because it's authors were screenwriters. But Ms Bomersbach's book has far more information, much of it new and some culled from personal interviews with Winnie Ruth Judd herself! The author is a top notch researcher to be sure, but not a great storyteller. This book works best as a supplement to its predecessor; I think of them as a set, and with Amazon's used book section, they will both be available for years to come for only a couple of dollars each. Note: Get the Sanctuary paperback reprint of this book--updated after Winnie's death, it has more pictures than the hardcover and an expanded text.
5.0 out of 5 stars true crime Nov. 3 2013
By Steven Florent - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
this book was one of the best i've read in a long time, read it in 2 days., very hard to put down. I like this seller, and continue to but from them wi8th no hesitation.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book. Nov. 13 2012
By ZZBLUES - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A great book. This one is more informative, that the book that was recently pulblished, I think. A good read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping true crime! Sept. 3 2001
By Nelson Aspen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Back before the Manson Family or OJ, there was Winnie Ruth Judd...the famous murderess who is still a household name for anyone over the age of 90 (just ask my grandmother!). This is a wonderful chronicle of the fascinating true crime case...vivid and immensely readable!
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