In January, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark brought a glorious true-crime podcast into the universe. They called it “My Favorite Murder.” Each episode finds its hosts discussing gruesome, titillating, real-life murders in a style reminiscent of breathless slumber-party ghost stories, but much, much funnier. Recently, the show became one of the most popular comedy podcasts on iTunes, and its Facebook fan page grew to over 10,000 members—including, according to a recent survey, a disproportionately large number of librarians.
One of the reasons behind MFM’s considerable appeal is Kilgariff and Hardstark’s loosey-goosey relationship with facts. The hosts would much rather tell a good story than waste time looking something up on Wikipedia. This is not only a novel, entertaining approach in a genre as detail- and formula-bound as true crime, but an excellent excuse for MFM fans gripped by particular deaths to do further research of their own. To follow are four books related to murders discussed on the podcast; I’ve linked to relevant MFM episodes and to Booklist reviews whenever possible.
Remember Michele Wallace, the nice lady who picked up the creepy hitchhikers and got murdered for her troubles? Remember NecroSearch, the agency who found her body and tied her murder to the drifter who took pictures of himself with Wallace’s stolen camera? (Who does that?) This book explains, in loving detail, how NecroSearch solved Wallace’s murder and other terrible crimes. Booklist calls it “a fascinating, macabre journey sure to entrance true-crime buffs and police-procedural detective fiction fans.”
When a Child Kills: Abused Children who Kill their Parents (1991) by Paul A. Mones
Finally, a nuanced book about patricide! This title should appeal to fans of the MFM episode about children who murder their parents. Booklist calls When a Child Kills “disturbing but highly recommended”.
Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Found (2014) by Frances Lawson
Can anything be worse than the fate of Tim McLean, the unfortunate Canadian riding the Greyhound bus whose fellow passenger beheaded and cannibalized him? Well, actually, yes: beheading was once fairly common. Frances Lawson should know; her book takes the long view of severed heads, marking the significance of their historical and socio-cultural meaning.
The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder (2013) by Charles Graeber
Fans of Harold Shipman, the British doctor who murdered his parents, will just love reading about Charles Cullen, the New Jersey night nurse who just be the most prolific serial killer in history. Author Charles Graeber piles on the horror when he shows that hospital bureaucracy can be even more fatal than some psycho with a syringe.