Nameless Indignities

Unraveling the Mystery of One of Illinois's Most Infamous Crimes

Non-Fiction - True Crime
344 Pages
Reviewed on 12/07/2014
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

Author Biography

Susan Elmore, a native of Springfield, Illinois, is a veteran genealogist with over 30 years experience in deciphering the past. Her longtime passion for genealogy, history, and true crime was the driving force behind her investigation of the Emma Bond case (Nameless Indignities). She also maintains the page for the Sabin Family of North America, a database which contains over 46,000 names of the descendants of William Sabin of Rehoboth, MA.

Elmore attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana as an art major. She and her husband Dave have lived in northern Illinois, southern California, the Bay area, the Atlanta area, and have recently retired to the small town of Ellijay in the north Georgia mountains. They have four grown children and ten grandchildren, including two sets of twins born six weeks apart. Besides being the genealogist and archivist for her extended family, she enjoys various creative pursuits, especially nature/outdoor photography. She also likes to spend time with her two rescued border collies, Cooky and Maizie.

Favorite quote: Family is not an important thing. It's everything. - Michael J. Fox

    Book Review

Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite

Susan Elmore’s novel, Nameless Indignities: Unraveling the Mystery of One of Illinois's Most Infamous Crimes, is a non-fiction, true crime story that happened in the late 1800s. Emma Bond, a young schoolteacher is viciously gang-raped and left for dead in her school. She miraculously survives and, as her case makes newspaper headlines across the United States of America, she endures a life of severe mental and physical difficulties. The physical wounds inflicted on her are so horrendous that the shocked press refer to them as 'nameless indignities.' Eighteen months later, a trial begins and three of the six suspects are subsequently convicted. Public opinion, however, shifts as rumors that she made up the story begin to circulate. This is a true to life story that profoundly wounds a young schoolteacher, a community and a nation and it still reverberates until today.

Winner of the IndieFab Gold and the IPPY Bronze awards, Nameless Indignities: Unraveling the Mystery of One of Illinois's Most Infamous Crimes, is an extremely interesting read. As the saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction, and this is exactly what comes to mind as I go on a dizzying ride from the first to the last chapters of this book. A crime is committed and there are several suspects. What follows is a string of dramatic events with lynch mobs, perjury and bribery accusations, botched kidnapping, shattered families, suicides and other upheavals. Author Susan Elmore uncovers new evidence on a 130-year-old case that has shocked the nation and directly impacted the lives of a number of people in the community, including her family because Emma Bond happens to be her great-aunt. The result is a novel that gives its readers a general look at criminal law, medicine, psychology, journalism, and life in the US during the Victorian age. Emma Bond's story is extremely touching, it leaves an aftertaste in my mouth. This is a well-researched book that is certainly difficult to put down!

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Nameless Indignities: Unraveling the Mystery of One of Illinois's Most Infamous Crimes by Susan Elmore is a true story set in the 1800s. Emma Bond, a young schoolteacher, was raped and left for dead in her schoolhouse. There were no witnesses to the crime. She survived the attack but the rest of her life was to suffer through hysteria, physical complications and a touch of amnesia. Indeed, some of the wounds that she received were unusual and sadistic, called 'nameless indignities' by the press of the time. Eighteen months after the attack, three out of six suspects were brought before the court but, after the verdict is brought, the public begin to believe that there was no crime committed; the victim had made it all up. The case itself was never really solved and had so many unanswered questions, some of which may just be answered with this book.

Nameless Indignities: Unraveling the Mystery of One of Illinois's Most Infamous Crimes by Susan Elmore was a good book. I like true crime, I like legal stories, and this was a good mix of both. I did get a little lost in the scene setting, and the describing of the area, but it didn’t deter me from continuing with the book. I found it to be well written, pretty concise and an interesting read. The ending may just surprise a few readers but you do need to read the whole book to understand how Ms. Elmore came to her conclusion. Good book, which would make an excellent TV film.

Patricia Reding

When Susan Elmore discovered a family connection to the victim of one of the most notorious crimes in Illinois history, Emma Bond, her curiosity got the better of her. So began Elmore's search into records available about Emma, the "nameless indignities" the press mentioned were inflicted upon her, the small Illinois community that was the setting of the crime, and more. Emma's story was incredible in that as a young school teacher she told of how, after someone covered her head so that she could not see, two (or was it three?) men pulled her up into the attic-like space of the schoolhouse, then assaulted her, all late in the afternoon on a typical June day. Thereafter, Emma wavered between life and death for an extended period. Meanwhile, three (and later more) local men were charged with the crime. But were they the responsible parties, or had a crime, in fact, even been committed?

We take for granted in many ways today the technology that makes it possible to identify criminals, the procedures we use to investigate crimes and crime scenes, and so on. As Susan Elmore rightly points out in Nameless Indignities, however, investigating and solving crimes in days gone by was a very different matter. In the case at hand, a part of a toenail was examined by eye, to determine if it might belong to one of the defendants. Today, a simple DNA test would be the first order of business. On the other hand, this history shows how our media plays a similar part in events as it did in those long ago days. Susan Elmore's new theory of the crime and careful and complete rendition of events is certainly an interesting and most readable glimpse into a sensational crime from the past.