245 Following

SusannaG - Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady

Just another GR refugee.  Other than that, I had a stroke in 2004, and read almost anything I can get my hands on, though I have a particular weakness for history, mystery, and historical fiction.

Currently reading

Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition
Paul Watson
Progress: 6 %
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life
Ed Yong
Progress: 40 %
Wizard's First Rule
Terry Goodkind
Progress: 49 %
Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant
Tracy Borman
Progress: 14 %
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life
Helen Czerski
Progress: 20 %
The Hanover Square Affair
Ashley Gardner
Progress: 10 %
Medieval Tastes: Food, Cooking, and the Table (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)
Beth Archer Brombert, Massimo Montanari
Progress: 10 %
Scars of Independence: America's Violent Birth
Holger Hoock
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari Dr
Progress: 9 %
Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years
John Guy
Progress: 20/512 pages

Skull in the Ashes, by Peter Kaufman

Skull in the Ashes: Murder, a Gold Rush Manhunt, and the Birth of Circumstantial Evidence in America - Peter Kaufman

ARC thanks to NetGalley - much appreciated.


This is an interesting study of one of the first cases in American legal history where a jury used circumstantial evidence to convict a murderer, in a case from 1897 Iowa.  A general store, and the bank that shared a common wall with it, burned down one night early that February, and a skull was found in the ashes in the morning.  Two men were missing.  Whose was the skull?  Did the man die by accident, or by murder?  Was the fire accident, or arson?


Part of the story includes the fascinating tale of how an insurance company sent a private detective all the way to the gold rush in the Yukon Territory of Canada, in order to "get their man."  I would give 4 stars to this part, as it was absolutely fascinating.


The map of  the Alaska and Yukon Territories was much appreciated, as were the photographs of most of the main players in the story, but I'd also have appreciated a map of Iowa, as the action takes place in several towns there.  (I know where Iowa City is, but Waldorf, not so much.)


Recommended to folks interested in true crime, legal history, or the gold rush in the Yukon.