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Reviewed by Lynette Fowlston for Readers' Favorite
"Winston and Salem Tales of Murder, Mystery and Mayhem" by Jennifer Bean Bower is quite a fascinating book. The author who is an associate curator of the photographic collections at the Old Salem Museums and Gardens, has provided some excellent photographs throughout the book dealing with twenty two people who had their lives come to a tragic end back in the 1700’s and 1800’s. The stories presented here are true and are obtained by the author from primary documents. These historic events include ghost stories, a mysterious explosion, executions by hanging, murder, and drowning. Every picture throughout the book either relates to a person connected to the crime or unusual death or a map which was a place of interest at the time.
This is a small book and can be read in an evening. It is very interesting and informative to read about the court trials and the length of time it took to hold them. Really it was no different from today’s court sessions. With each turn of the page the reader is pulled into the lives of the individuals, whether it is the account of their death, the lynch mob that hung a man before he even went to court, or the one who claimed innocence right to the end. The book is very well-written and was awarded by the North Carolina Society of Historians. For those who like to read non-fiction books of a historical nature that include murder and mysteries along with a touch a mayhem thrown in, then I feel this is the right choice.