A disclaimer before I begin: I am reviewing an Advance Readers Copy of this book and I have not compared my copy to what was published.
The Murder of the Century by Paul Collins is not the story of an uninteresting murder that happened in 1897. The book is about a murder that got splashed all over the press in a time when "yellow journalism" was on its was to set the standard in reporting for a time. Crown Publishers has impeccable timing releasing this book in the middle of the next crime of the century (the Casey Anthony trial).
There is a fascinating mix of events in Mr. Collins book that makes it a great read. The murder itself is a grisly one with some parts of the body never being found. Next, the police, in a time of New York City's corrupt police department, don’t want to investigate because they believe it to be a prank. So the journalists actually begin the investigation and really do most of the work for the police. This is the truly fascinating part of this book. The one-upmanship between the newspaper publishers and the lengths they went to invent stories is truly amazing. This story also takes place during a time when forensic science is just some scientist with his own legal problems that has figured some stuff out.
Roll all of these events into one story and you have yourself a great read that leaves you slightly wondering if they really got the right person.