10 books like The Beautiful Cigar Girl

By Daniel Stashower,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Beautiful Cigar Girl. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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By Persons Unknown

By George Jonas,

Book cover of By Persons Unknown: The Strange Death of Christine Demeter

This book was written not as a work of history, but contemporary non-fiction by two reporters covering one of Canada’s highest-profile murder cases of the 1970s, the killing of Christine Demeter, a former model married to flamboyant Toronto businessman and Hungarian immigrant Peter Demeter. By Canadian standards, the authors had unprecedented access to lawyers and others involved in the 1974 trial of Demeter for the murder of his wife and benefited from evidence and a cast of characters straight out of a best-selling crime novel. Demeter was found guilty and while serving his sentence he was convicted of instigating two separate plots to have people kidnapped and murdered. By Persons Unknown broke new ground in Canadian true crime writing.   

By Persons Unknown

By George Jonas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked By Persons Unknown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By persons unknown: The strange death of Christine Demeter [Jan 01, 1977] Jonas, George


The Invention of Murder

By Judith Flanders,

Book cover of The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime

This is an amazing book that serves as a template for academic writers seeking to reach a wider readership. Flanders delves into not only Victorian Britain’s obsessive fascination with homicide and its detection, but also how newspaper editors and reporters, playwrights, and novelists benefited from and were influenced by particularly gruesome crimes with compelling victims and perpetrators. The book incorporates academic scholarship and recalls some of the most famous crimes of the era and explores their impact on Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Robert Louis Stevenson, and other cultural producers.   

The Invention of Murder

By Judith Flanders,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Invention of Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'We are a trading community, a commercial people. Murder is doubtless a very shocking offence, nevertheless as what is done is not to be undone, let us make our money out of it.' Punch

Murder in the 19th century was rare. But murder as sensation and entertainment became ubiquitous - transformed into novels, into broadsides and ballads, into theatre and melodrama and opera - even into puppet shows and performing dog-acts.

In this meticulously researched and compelling book, Judith Flanders - author of 'The Victorian House' - retells the gruesome stories of many different types of murder - both famous…


The Innocent Man

By John Grisham,

Book cover of The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town

We all know that Grisham writes best-selling fiction that has been turned into several Hollywood blockbusters. But the most frightening book by this former small-town defence lawyer is his only work of non-fiction, an account of the wrongful conviction of Ronald Keith Williamson of the 1982 sex murder of Debra Sue Carter. Williamson, who was low-hanging fruit for police and prosecutors in Ada, Oklahoma, languished in prison for 11 years before being exonerated by DNA evidence. This book should be mandatory reading for police, prosecutors, and judges and is a useful reminder that public opinion and justice are often mutually exclusive.

The Innocent Man

By John Grisham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Innocent Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

__________________
***NOW A MAJOR NETFLIX SERIES***

A gripping true-crime story of a shocking miscarriage of justice, from international bestselling thriller author John Grisham.

In the baseball draft of 1971, Ron Williamson was the first player chosen from Oklahoma. Signing with Oakland, he said goodbye to his small home town and left for California to pursue his dreams of glory.

Six years later he was back, his dreams broken by a bad arm and bad habits - drinking, drugs and women. He began to show signs of mental illness. Unable to keep a job, he moved in with his mother and…


Charlotte Gray, The Massey Murder

By Charlotte Gray,

Book cover of Charlotte Gray, The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Nation

This is a compelling Canadian true-crime tale that captures the atmosphere of early 20th-century Toronto and explores the intersection of class, ethnicity, and societal expectations of proper moral conduct by men and women during wartime. The Masseys were a wealthy Ontario family that amassed a fortune manufacturing agricultural equipment. In 1915 Carrie Davies was an 18-year old English maid working in the home of C.A. “Bert” Massey. She killed her married employer with a revolver in front of a witness and freely admitted carrying out the crime, explaining that he had been making sexual advances towards her. I enjoyed this book as it reminds us of how legal rules and arguments in the past could be overwhelmed by public pressure and cultural expectations. Davies, who many viewed as a heroine, was acquitted of murder by an all-male jury in less than 1 hour.       

Charlotte Gray, The Massey Murder

By Charlotte Gray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Charlotte Gray, The Massey Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Non-Fiction
Winner of the Toronto Book Award
Winner of the CAA Lela Common Award for Canadian History
Winner of the Heritage Toronto Book Award
A Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year
Finalist for the RBC Taylor Prize, the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the Ottawa Book Award, the Libris Award, the OLA Evergreen Award

A scandalous crime, a sensational trial, a surprise verdict—the true story of Carrie Davies, the maid who shot a Massey

In February 1915, a member of one of Canada’s wealthiest families was shot and…


Six Capsules

By George R. Dekle Sr.,

Book cover of Six Capsules: The Gilded Age Murder of Helen Potts

Carlyle W. Harris was a promising young medical student in 1891 with an unfortunate obsession with sex. He would constantly regale his friends and associates with tales of his sexual conquests. When he failed to seduce 19-year-old Helen Potts, he convinced her to marry him but keep the marriage a secret. Six Capsules tells the story of Harris’s plot to murder Helen with a poisoned capsule to keep the secret from being revealed. The author, George R. Dekle Sr., a retired law professor and former prosecutor, provides a detailed analysis of Harris’s sensational trial for murder. The book’s vivid account of the murder and its consequences contrasts the moral and legal atmosphere of the 1890s with that of today.

Six Capsules

By George R. Dekle Sr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Six Capsules as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As Ted Bundy was to the 20th century, so Carlyle Harris was to the 19th. Harris was a charismatic, handsome young medical student with an insatiable appetite. His trail of debauched women ended with Helen Potts, a beautiful young woman of wealth and privilege who was determined to keep herself pure for marriage. Unable to conquer her by other means, Harris talked her into a secret marriage under assumed names, and when threatened with exposure, he poisoned her.

The resulting trial garnered national headlines and launched the careers of two of New York's most famous prosecutors, Francis L. Wellman and…


Murder at the Met

By David Black,

Book cover of Murder at the Met

In July of 1980, a beautiful violinist disappeared during a 45-minute break while the visiting ballet company used a prerecorded piece. Helen Hagnes Mintiks was a Julliard grad who had played with professionals since her teens. After the evening’s performance ended, her colleagues knew—as any musician would—that Helen would never have left the building without her violin. It took another nine hours to find her body, thrown down a ventilation shaft, hands tied with knots that stagehands used. A witness led them to the killer, who promptly confessed—a real villain, robbing the world of a kind-hearted talent out of lust. I read this book probably 30 years ago, while I was reading my way through the entire true crime section of the Cleveland Public Library. 

Murder at the Met

By David Black,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Murder at the Met as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inside story, written with the cooperation of the detectives involved, of the investigation into the murder of a young violinist


One Was a Soldier

By Julia Spencer-Fleming,

Book cover of One Was a Soldier

This book is from a series but I picked this one out because it was perfectly targeting why veterans talking to other veterans can heal. These fictional characters have real backstories that resonated with me. This is set in a small town with the dichotomy of military and law enforcement and is an easy, mystery read. 

One Was a Soldier

By Julia Spencer-Fleming,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Was a Soldier as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On a warm September evening in the Millers Kill community center, five veterans sit down in rickety chairs to try to make sense of their experiences in Iraq. What they will find is murder, conspiracy, and the unbreakable ties that bind them to one another and their small Adirondack town.

The Rev. Clare Fergusson wants to forget the things she saw as a combat helicopter pilot and concentrate on her relationship with Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. MP Eric McCrea needs to control the explosive anger threatening his job as a police officer. Will Ellis, high school track star,…


The Socialite's Guide to Murder

By S. K. Golden,

Book cover of The Socialite's Guide to Murder

Set in 1958, Manhattan, at the fictional Pinnacle Hotel, this is a closed-setting, classic cozy mystery that I really adored. The story’s lead—Evelyn Elizabeth Grace Murphy (first off, what a name, right?)—is such a brilliantly written character. I love how ditzy and superficial she seems at the beginning, but as the plot unravels, and her sleuthing skills are put to the test, we get to see her complexities and flaws and learn to love her. What I love even more is that this book is the first in a (hopefully) long-running series. Encore, Evelyn! 

The Socialite's Guide to Murder

By S. K. Golden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Socialite's Guide to Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The hotel was her refuge, but scandal is afoot—and a killer stalks the halls in this charming series debut perfect for fans of Rhys Bowen and Ashley Weaver.

It’s 1958 and Evelyn Elizabeth Grace Murphy has not left the Pinnacle Hotel in fourteen months. She suffers from agoraphobia, and what’s more, it’s her father’s hotel, and everything she needs is there. Evelyn’s always been good at finding things, she discovered her mother dead in a Manhattan alleyway fifteen years earlier. Now she’s finding trouble inside her sanctuary. At a party for artist Billie Bell, his newest work is stolen, and…


Kill the Boy Band

By Goldy Moldavsky,

Book cover of Kill the Boy Band

I’ve covered rock, classical, a capella, and new wave in my list, so I thought I’d round it out with sugar-sweet pop. Kill the Boy Band is a darkly hilarious journey into fangirl obsession filled with quirky characters and sitcom situations that are as fun to read as they are improbable. The boy band in question is The Ruperts, a quartet of British heart-throbs with an eerie resemblance to One Direction. When four superfans score a room in the hotel where The Ruperts are staying, they hatch a plan that goes awry fast, leaving the band with one fewer Ruperts and the girls with a…very incriminating situation.

I loved this book for so many reasons, but my favorite was the deep dive into superfan culture. A lot of the book is spent questioning the nature of this culture, but in a way that's genuinely soul-searching and not condescending—the narrator…

Kill the Boy Band

By Goldy Moldavsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kill the Boy Band as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times–bestselling debut story of four superfan friends whose devotion to their favorite band has darkly comical and deadly results.

Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.

We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next. We swear.

Praise for Kill the Boy Band

“Moldavsky’s…


Styx & Stone

By James W. Ziskin,

Book cover of Styx & Stone: An Ellie Stone Mystery

Ellie Stone, a young alcoholic newspaper reporter in 1960s New York, makes her own rules while searching for a killer. The series is an incredible window into the era and the protagonist is superb. Booksellers, publishers, authors—we all know who James Ziskin is—simply one of the most decorated mystery authors writing today. This series has won so many awards, I can’t begin to list them all here. In spite of this, James Ziskin remains a secret to most readers. This baffles me and the only thing that can explain it is that we happen to be in that one alternate universe where James Ziskin, who is a bestselling author in every other multiverse, randomly hasn’t caught fire in this universe. Yet.

Styx & Stone

By James W. Ziskin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Styx & Stone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ellie Stone is a professed modern girl in 1960s' New York City, playing by her own rules and breaking boundaries while searching for a killer among the renowned scholars in Columbia University's Italian Department.

"If you were a man, you'd make a good detective."

Ellie is sure that Sgt. McKeever meant that as a compliment, but that identity-a girl wanting to do a man's job-has throttled her for too long. It's 1960, and Ellie doesn't want to blaze any trails for women; she just wants to be a reporter, one who doesn't need to swat hands off her behind at…


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