Read The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century by SarahMiller Online


"Someone has killed Father!"August 4, 1892: Lizzie Borden calls out frantically for help. When the maid and the neighbors come running, they find Lizzie's father, Andrew Borden, lying murdered in the sitting room of the Borden home at 92 Second Street in Fall River, Massachusetts. Soon after, the body of Lizzie's stepmother, Abby, is discovered upstairs.As the minutes give"Someone has killed Father!"August 4, 1892: Lizzie Borden calls out frantically for help. When the maid and the neighbors come running, they find Lizzie's father, Andrew Borden, lying murdered in the sitting room of the Borden home at 92 Second Street in Fall River, Massachusetts. Soon after, the body of Lizzie's stepmother, Abby, is discovered upstairs.As the minutes give way to hours, one person rises to the top of the list of suspects: Lizzie herself. But how could a mild-mannered young woman from a prominent family be an axe murderer?In a compelling narrative, Sarah Miller investigates the chilling crime - from the gruesome details of that fateful August day to Lizzie's dramatic court battles to the role sensational newspaper headlines played in swaying public opinion. Enhanced by period photos, newspaper clippings, and, yes, even an image of the crime scene, this is middle-grade nonfiction that races like a true-crime novel. Prepare to devour it and to grapple with the same questions a nation asked itself over a century ago: Did Lizzie do it? And if not, who did?...

Title : The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780553498080
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century Reviews

  • Sam Quixote
    2019-05-31 21:28

    On the morning of Thursday, August 4, 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. Their killer - or killers – struck them repeatedly in the head with a hatchet until they were both dead: first Abby, while she made the bed in the guest room, then Andrew when he returned from his morning walk and was resting on the sofa. The prime suspect? Their 32 year-old daughter, Lizzie. Sarah Miller’s excellent non-fiction book, The Borden Murders, covers the case that has enthralled people for over a hundred years; though quite why this is described as a book for younger readers in high school is bizarre, particularly given the grisly subject matter, but also because the book reads as eruditely and comprehensively as anything for an adult audience. I only knew the barest facts of the Borden case before reading Miller’s book (having read Rick Geary’s entry in his superb Treasury of Victorian Murders comic series a few years ago) so it’s fascinating to discover the nuances of the crime and ensuing investigation. Miller adopts as neutral a stance as possible in explaining the case, not leading the reader down any specific theory but letting them make up their own minds (the murderer/s were never caught and the crimes remain unsolved). She also writes in a novelistic style with the people exchanging dialogue like in a crime drama, which makes for a very smooth read, though she’s careful to only use actual quotes in the right context – an exhaustive bibliography is included at the back of the book accounting for each quote used. It’s remarkable that Lizzie got away with the murders (I’m convinced she did it though she was found not guilty at the trial) given how she appeared when questioned by police. During the inquest she kept changing her story – when her father returned from his morning walk she was first in the kitchen reading a magazine, then she was coming down the stairs, then she was in the dining room doing some ironing. Perhaps the morphine she was prescribed caused her mind to drift? But then Lizzie’s suspicious behaviour continued. She claimed to have been in the barn for 20-30 minutes during the murder of her father but when police went into it, they found it so stifling, they couldn’t stand to be there for more than a few minutes. They also found no footsteps in the barn's dust that day. She was very calm considering she had just discovered her parents had been violently murdered and then was later seen by an officer stationed outside their house doing something with the pails containing her parents’ bloodied clothing (why didn’t the police confiscate this evidence in the first place?!). That’s all before she was seen burning a dress she said was ruined by “paint”! The police back then were such idiots. There were hatchets and axes in the house but the murder weapon was never found. That and the lack of Lizzie’s bloodied clothing (coughsheburneditcough), and the fact that her incriminating inquest was ruled inadmissible for her trial, and the further incompetence of the police’s conflicting testimony at the trial, led to the jury finding her not guilty in June 1893. It was the right decision given the lack of evidence and disastrous prosecution but that doesn’t mean she didn’t commit the murders. Miller provides a small addendum of Lizzie’s life post-trial where she dug into the community rather than leave, buying an expensive house and living with her sister Emma for many years after. Her father was very wealthy and she and her sister inherited the lot when he died. Motive for murder? Yup! She also used her family’s money to hire the best lawyers to save her from the hangman’s noose so basically if you’ve got enough money, you can get away with anything. That and hope that the police are as moronic as they were investigating this case!Sarah Miller’s book on the Borden killings is a fascinating and accessible account of a compelling case that true crime fans, regardless of being in high school or not, will relish.

  • Pamela
    2019-06-05 00:32

    Phenomenal!!! Absolutely riveting.... From page one I was hooked, essentially unable to put down this thought-provoking and hauntingly surreal book. I vaguely knew about the Borden Murders, but much of what I thought to be true is as bogus as the jump-rope rhyme forever associated with Lizzie. Though I would love to, I can't go into great detail or quote from the text, as the copy I read from is an uncorrected proof and the publisher requests restraint. I can say: It's the perfect balance of objective integrity and subjective intrigue; non-fiction - subject matter that is uncannily bizarre and macabre at times - but reads like humanistic fiction. Also included are photographs, newspaper article inserts, social customs typical and atypical of the era, time and place nuances.... And so much more.Without a doubt, early next year, it's sure to be a best selling hit with young and mature adults alike.I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout-out to my dear librarian friend who shared her ARC copy. Thanks a million, Ms. J!! You totally rock the literary world! And thank you Random House and author, Sarah Miller - I wish you both, nothing but great success!!

  • Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
    2019-05-25 23:20

    Interesting. Middle school grade book on a family murder crime.Never would have thought that was a good subject for them to read about. But this is my own little humble opinion. Good, the structure of the story was a little off, but the story is there none the less.

  • The Lit Bitch
    2019-06-09 19:22

    This book follows the murder, trial, and aftermath of one of histories most shocking and grizzly crimes that remains unsolved. Sarah Miller examines many aspects of the case and utilizes newspaper articles and trial transcriptions to present the ‘facts’ and basically let’s the reader draw their own conclusions about the case.This is one of the few books that I initially passed on for review and then after thinking about it more, decided to read it. I don’t really know anything about Lizzie Borden and the ‘trial of the century’ so when I agreed to read this book I basically had no idea what I was getting in to.One of the things that I liked best about this novel was that it was unassuming. Miller presented the facts as the public would have gotten them in 1892, all from the headlines and the courtroom. I also loved that this book was written for high school aged readers. There were little ‘outlets’ of information or terms for ‘students’ throughout the reading. For example, she noted what a ‘slop bucket’ was and what it was used for. She would also have a box about different newspaper articles and how they might have told their stories with a bias etc. I thought these little sections were critical to presenting a ‘neutral’ case in this book.It is easy to see why this story was ‘sensational’ at the time……even by today’s standards it would be considered a ‘sensational’ crime. Wealthy daughter hacks her parents to death on a sunny morning and no evidence to confirm or deny her involvement. It was truly a fascinating story….all the evidence was circumstantial and I was surprised that based on that, she actually went to trial! But at the same time, her actions made her look guilty and by her own admission, her timeline placed her at the scene of the crime…..but yet there was no blood to be found, or murder weapon for that matter. A mysterious crime indeed!This book was very well written, I loved that Miller was upfront and honest about the facts of the case. While she did her best to remain neutral throughout the narrative, I felt that Miller thought Lizzie Borden innocent. Miller did a great job presenting facts, details about the crime, and helping the reader examine the case but there was something that this narrative lacked and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe a little sparkle….I don’t know, but for me it didn’t shine as well as it could have.That said, I did enjoy reading this and felt like I learned a lot. There is a large part of me that felt like Lizzie got railroaded by the police based on hearsay and rumors etc but there is another part of me that was like how could she have been so close to the house and not known what was going on? And why burn the dress? You have got to know how suspicious that would look!?Over all this was an interesting and engaging read. I liked the way that Miller presented the case and allowed the reader to form their own conclusions. The extra information about certain things historically or in the paper that Miller provided were helpful to the reader as well. While this book is geared toward middle grade readers I think that readers of any age would enjoy it! It wasn’t overly gruesome in it’s details and recounting of the crime but it was informative and left the reader feeling satisfied.See my full review here

  • Josiah
    2019-06-05 19:22

    Countless books about the Borden homicides have been written for adults, but the market was open for one geared toward young readers when The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the Century arrived in 2016. The vicious murder of Andrew and Abby Borden had taken place one hundred twenty-four years earlier, yet urban legend culture still was fascinated by the crime. Who could have predicted the suave, wealthy Borden family would be engulfed by a murder that would rock their hometown and plunge their youngest daughter into enduring infamy? Public appetite for details of the killings hadn't faded by the twenty-first century, and author Sarah Miller refreshes our memory with a dramatic retelling of that awful day and its aftermath in Fall River, Massachusetts. Kids who know Lizzie Borden's name may vaguely associate her with grisly murder, but how many are familiar enough with the facts of her case to decide for themselves if they believe she was guilty? It's easy to hear a name from history and dehumanize the person it belonged to, but Lizzie Borden was as human as you or I, and her name shouldn't be sullied without cause. The Borden Murders takes us deep into the case file of a woman slandered down through the centuries, inviting us to make up our own minds about her. Whatever your opinion when you finish this book, you'll possess the information to articulate it reasonably. The bloody goings-on of August 4, 1892 were not without a convergence of backstories, sensationalized by the press and prosecutors. Upon seeing her massacred father downstairs in the Borden home, victim of dozens of stab wounds that punctured his skull in several places, thirty-two-year-old Lizzie called out to Bridget Sullivan, the maid. A doctor was summoned, followed by the police, but Andrew Borden was beyond help. As Bridget flailed around the roomy Borden house trying to make sense of the situation while avoiding the mutilated corpse, Lizzie discovered her stepmother Abby slashed to death on the floor of the bedroom she shared with Andrew. The rooms in which the murders happened were smeared all over with blood. Lizzie's sister Emma, older by nearly a decade, had the shock of a lifetime when a vague message brought her home only to find her father and stepmother were dead. The authorities investigated immediately, searching for obvious motives, a murder weapon, and other evidence left by the perpetrator. Their suspicion of Lizzie cropped up with their observation that she didn't appear as distraught as they'd expect, having just found her parents' mangled bodies. She seemed to them not in the least bothered by her stepmother's passing, going out of her way to remind the detective that it was not her mother who died. Lizzie's sketchy recollection of crucial details and initial hesitancy to allow a search of her bedroom also triggered alarm. With no other apparent suspects, and having found a dusty hatchet in the basement that could have inflicted Mr. and Mrs. Borden's mortal wounds, police zeroed in on Lizzie. If she were innocent, they reasoned, they'd find out during formal questioning. At the time of the inquest into the Borden slayings, Lizzie and her attorney, Andrew J. Jennings, didn't know a warrant had already been issued for Lizzie's arrest. Rather than act on it right away, detectives questioned her first, and it could not have gone much worse for Lizzie. Denied the presence of her attorney, Lizzie's account of the morning Andrew and Abby Borden died was convoluted and contradictory. She claimed to be upstairs, downstairs, then up again with no consistency, though Bridget the maid had quite a clear memory of the sequence of events. Why would Lizzie have this much trouble recollecting such a momentous day? She was taking calming medication, which could have blurred her memory, but police were convinced they had their murderer. They forthwith visited the Borden house and placed Lizzie under arrest, and the media storm struck Fall River with full fury. Had this woman of high society butchered her parents with a hatchet? It was almost too heinous to imagine, but chopped up bodies can't be ignored. Lizzie hired several famed men of the bar to design her legal defense. Andrew Jennings was eventually joined by George Dexter Robinson, former Massachusetts governor and one of the finest lawyers in the region. Lizzie had the best legal team her departed father's money could buy, but how strong was the prosecution's case? Strong enough that preliminary judges rejected motions to dismiss the charges and free Lizzie without further ado. Though the evidence against her was purely circumstantial, judges ruled that Lizzie be indicted and her future decided at trial by a jury of her peers, and the somewhat eccentric spinster was detained in cell No. 3 at Taunton Jail for ten months as both sides prepared for one of the most public trials of the nineteenth century. Fall River's three newspapers, the Daily Evening News, the Daily Herald, and the Daily Globe competed ravenously for each new scoop, sometimes printing several editions per day to keep the public apprised of Lizzie's case. By the time Lizzie stood before Superior Court justices Caleb Blodgett, Justin Dewey, and Albert Mason to be tried for first-degree murder, all sorts of rumors circulated about her mental state, her relationship with her parents, and her connection to the crimes of August 4. Though neither District Attorney Hosea M. Knowlton nor lead defense lawyer George Robinson felt confident their side would win, the facts of the Borden murders were about to be laid bare for the eyes of the waiting world. Knowlton's case was mostly founded on Lizzie's unreliable inquest testimony. She had lied to cover up her guilt, he insisted. Knowlton pointed out that the hatchet found in the basement was the right size and shape to be the murder weapon, though the lack of any blood residue on it was problematic. The prosecution featured the testimony of Lizzie's friend Alice Russell, who saw Lizzie preparing to burn a dress the day after the murders. Lizzie's remaining clothes bore no sign of blood, but might this dress have been what she wore to slice Andrew and Abby into oblivion? For the defense, Governor Robinson repeatedly reminded the jury there was no hard evidence linking Lizzie to the crime. Prosecutors could prove it would have been difficult for an intruder to enter the Borden home unseen, and they could muster witnesses who felt that Lizzie had no warm feelings for her stepmother, but it wasn't proof she had committed homicide. Several key pieces of evidence were ruled inadmissible, further eroding the case against Lizzie. Knowlton needed to come up with something big or the jury would have to exonerate. As both sides posed their final arguments and rested, tension in and around Fall River grew unbearable. Mainstream media had treated Lizzie with ambivalence for months, changing the tone of their reportage based on every new revelation. At times they wrote about her as a sociopathic monster who must be convicted and receive the mandatory death penalty for justice to be served. On other occasions they described Lizzie as a gentle waif with kind eyes and a matching disposition, a young girl hounded by prosecutors who didn't care that she obviously bore no guilt. The public formed strong opinions about Lizzie's character and her culpability for the horrors of last August 4. Lizzie's legendary nerves of steel edged on the point of shattering as court reconvened and the jury foreman stood to read the verdict that would influence the dark side of pop culture for generations. Fall River and Lizzie Borden could never be the same again. We don't know who slaughtered Andrew and Abby Borden that warm summer morning in 1892. Because detectives focused on Lizzie almost from the outset, other suspects weren't interrogated at length, so we have few alternative killers to choose from. But Lizzie's case tells us a lot about the flaws of criminal justice. Whether or not she killed Mr. and Mrs. Borden matters little in the discussion of how people are publicly regarded when accused of a misdeed. Rather than recognize that the perspective of anyone outside those immediately involved is limited and refuse to pass judgment on situations we don't know, people love to give opinions and spread gossip. We deduce from the mannerisms of the accused that he or she is guilty. We play psychiatrist and diagnosis them with this or that mental malady, judging their life with no better grasp of who they are than anyone could who's never walked in their shoes. We consider it our right to subject the accused to unfair scrutiny. Only if we find ourselves on the wrong side of this chamber of horrors do we realize how loathsome it is to be judged by people who objectify us. The accused can't speak with everyone who's formed an outlandish opinion about them even if it were possible to dissuade them from their false notions.In Lizzie's case it seems the common man read sinister motives into her every action since the murders, and she expressed frustration while awaiting trial. "If people would only do me justice that is all I ask, but it seems as if every word I have uttered has been distorted and such a false construction placed on it that I am bewildered. I can't understand it." How are we to convince others we aren't a monster if they're determined to believe the worst of us? They decry us as evil to reinforce their own worldview, using us as a tool instead of seeing us as humans who deserve the benefit of the doubt. The Borden Murders comments astutely in this vein about the treatment of Lizzie. "More than a few had something to say about Lizzie's personality. Not one of them had met her, but all were certain what kind of a person she was. For one thing, her reaction to the murder was not natural. That was sure. In exactly what way, they could not agree...There was no winning—whether Lizzie rushed toward her father's body or away from it, she was branded unnatural. Nothing about her was deemed genuine. 'Her religious pretences are only cloaks to hide her real nature,' one critic declared." It's easy to assert how someone should have acted when you're not the person being picked on, to believe scandalous things about them when they have no way of proving they aren't the fiend others portray them as. No reasoned response from Lizzie could change the minds of those who wanted to see her as a remorseless murderer. "What would they have me do?" she asked a visitor in jail. "Howl? Go into hysterics? I am wrongly accused of two horrible crimes. I know it is useless to cry out in indignation at the outrage, so I am trying hard to keep calm and self-controlled until I shall be proved innocent." Lizzie's personal traits were weaponized by strangers against her, and no one escapes being wronged like that when they're in the public eye. Society's bloodlust will be sated, but individuals can choose not to be part of the problem when public figures or those closer to us are accused of wrongdoing. We can determine to be as fair to them as we'd want others to be to us if our situations were reversed. If we learn only that from Lizzie Borden's story, this book is worth reading. Sarah Miller doesn't say if she believes Lizzie was guilty, an appropriate refrainment for the author. We're best served by her as a neutral arbiter of the facts, rather than an apologist for either side. That aligns with Ms. Miller's stated intentions in the "Researching the Bordens" appendix of this book. "Guilty or innocent—whatever verdict you ultimately favor, I will be content if what I've written enables you to hold your mind open to both possibilities." I'm not sure which option I lean toward, but Lizzie Borden's story is a reminder that life is complicated and that controversial incidents are rarely as straightforward as they seem to people outside of the situation. Approaching these matters with humility is the only way to afford individuals the dignity they deserve. The Borden Murders is one of the best true crime stories for kids I've read. I wouldn't have been averse to it receiving a 2017 Newbery Honor. I recommend this book for readers who like energetic nonfiction that provides big ideas for discussion, and I'd be tempted to give it three and a half stars. This is quality literature.

  • Amanda
    2019-06-15 00:42

    A relatively succinct overview of Lizzie Borden's murder trial, but nothing more really. I didn't connect with any of the people depicted. The book is biased though the author would like you to think it's not. The photos should have been incorporated into the text.

  • Kelly
    2019-06-01 03:43

    A totally fascinating and engaging book about Lizzie Borden and the famous trial surrounding the accusations she killed her father and stepmother. At times, the courtroom discussions got a little long, but it makes sense in context, given it's really all Miller has to work with to construct the narrative. I didn't know much about Borden at all, but I loved learning about her, the history of the case, and how much bumbling it up there was. A couple of things frustrated me in terms of design and layout, but namely, why were the photos in the order they were in? It was strange to see the pictures that were talked about later in the book come before the ones that were talked about sooner (see: the famous 'gruesome' photo being shoved in the back section but not the first -- also, that photo isn't at all gruesome by today's standards). This has huge appeal for readers who love true crime, legends of famous murders, or women who've been mistreated by history. Full review here:

  • March Shoggoth Madness The Haunted Reading Room
    2019-05-29 00:26

    Review: THE BORDEN MURDERS by Sarah MillerThis is not a sensationalist rendering but rather a logical approach to discovering this widely-known and gory double crime, committed in August 1892. The author bases her accounting on court transcripts, photos, and newspaper reporting of the crime. Readers will understand those involved as regular and real-life humans, instead of the polarization of demonization vs. pure innocence as the press at the time, and a good portion of the townspeople, purported. Perhaps students will be inspired to this method of historical research.

  • Renata
    2019-05-27 03:21

    I'm not really into true crime/mysteries but I do love a lady with an axe, and also I was looking for high-interest nonfiction to booktalk, so I picked this up. I didn't know that much about Lizzie Borden so I definitely learned a lot from this, and I think tweens/teens/people who are more interested in crime procedurals in general will dig it. It does a good job of presenting all the evidence (and lack of evidence) in a way that's interesting but not sensationalized. The end is inconclusive, which might be unsatisfying for younger readers, but I appreciate that it's honest and thoughtful, that there's just not enough evidence to be certain either way! Could be a good discussion topic too.A quibble: a lot of time is spent talking about how shocking the photos of the bodies/crime scene were...and then there's a section of photos included...that doesn't have those pictures!! C'mon you know that's what all the kids want. (One of them is included in a later photo section and it's really not that gory/'s black and white & you can't really tell what's happening. And you can look at them all online anyway. BUT C'MON just put the murder photos in your murder book!!)anyway, kids love murder, so this should be a great one to booktalk.

  • Carrie
    2019-05-26 00:26

    Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one. A rhyme that I'm sure a lot are familiar with along with the cover of this novel let's the reader know that this is another recount of the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden which took place on August 4, 1892. Lizzie Bordon, Andrew's youngest daughter was the prime suspect in the murders with the story following from the time they occurred to all the following events and investigation. What is different about this particular recount is that is marketed for a younger audience. I won't debate on whether that's a particularly good idea or not to target a younger age group with a book about gruesome murders but what I will say is I think they did a good job in writing for a younger reader with the book. The book is set up to read like a fiction story with a bit simpler writing than you would find in an adult version. As you are reading the story there are little boxes of actual facts and details to gain more perspective into the events. For example it mentions Lizzie wearing black to the funeral but not the right attire. The box then explains what the customs and traditions of the time were. There's also little bits added that would seem to help a younger audience understand such as when money is mentioned it gives what the amount would be equivalent to in today's economy. Details such as these make the story a bit of an educational read for the younger audience as well. Personally I reviewed a Kindle copy of this book and while it was readable and the pictures could be seen I'd almost suggest if really interested to pick up a physical copy. I think some of the images and diagrams etc included would probably be better seen in an actual book and would also make it easier if you for instance wanted to flip back to the blueprints of the home while reading about it in the story it would be easier to do so in a physical copy. Overall, great job by the author in achieving the goal of making a readable account of the events for the younger age group. Also, an interesting read for any age really if you haven't read before. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.For more reviews please visithttps://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....

  • Laura Harrison
    2019-06-13 22:18

    I have been fascinated by Lizzie Border and her trial for decades. Any new book on the subject thrills me to no end. Lizzie wasn't a murderer. It wasn't who she was but the public loves to persecute those who don't fit the general norm. This is all pretty grisly and I don't recommend it for those under 13. The book is wonderfuly written and engaging. Highly recommend.

  • Simon
    2019-06-09 02:29

    I read The Borden Murders in one gulp. Then I went back and re-read it. It's that interesting a topic, and Sarah Miller handles it in a way that makes for a compulsive page-turner. I knew that it was targeted at a younger audience than I fit into (ahem), but I have to tell you --- if this is what middle-school readers are capable of understanding, then more power to them. The writing is lucid and she makes the actual timetable of the murders understandable in terms of where everyone was, or at least claimed to be (no mean feat). The book is also scrupulously fair in regard to the identity of the murderer. Miller frankly admits that in the end, she is still in the dark. But for many readers, she will have accomplished an enormous achievement in regard Lizzie Borden's reputation. Miller argues the case for an unknown murderer so well that even those disposed to believe that Lizzie did do it must concede that much of the evidence has been organized so poorly that we have not heard the case against Borden as the killer.ADDENDUM: I went back and reread the book three days later. It was even better. I also recommended it so someone who has no interest in the case at all (I know, what kind of person has no interest in this case?) and he read it in one sitting and then sat up arguing with me. It's that good.Did she persuade me that Lizzie was innocent? No, but the book made me want to argue about it!The photos are well chosen, and not gruesome. Miller skims lightly over the most obvious explanation of Lizzie's infatuation with Nance O'Neill and Emma's departure from their shared home. Mustn't scandalize the younglings. This is a terrific read at any age. I only wish that books about topics this well-handled had been available when I was in middle school, but of course the printing press had only just been invented.

  • Linda
    2019-05-22 00:36

    One of the most horrifying murder scenes in history. An intricate puzzle to put together. A look at crime scene tactics and analysis (or lack thereof) in 1892 leading up to the trial of the century. My interest in true crime stories immediately drew me to this book. Most have heard the rhyme about Lizzie Borden and the rumors that have circulated. It’s a gruesome tale and made more intriguing by the fact that it is still unsolved. In the author’s notes at the end of the book, Sarah Miller discloses her ambition to do two things; “to present Lizzie Borden as a human being, and to be scrupulously fair in my presentation of the facts surrounding the murder.” I think she accomplished both in this book. It is well researched and the facts are laid out in timeline fashion based on witness testimony, court transcripts, newspaper and other written documents. Two sections of photos are included showing images of the Borden Family, the house on Second Street, the floor plan view of the rooms inside, newspaper articles and more. As the author notes, many rumors and interpretations have been recorded over the years leaning to one verdict or the other. Miller chooses to present the facts as they are – and let the reader decide for themselves. A nice addition are the text boxes throughout that either provide greater detail with updates from recent history or give context to things of the time period such as customary mourning attire and slop pails vs. chamber pots. A great choice for fans of true crime. Age appropriateness might be set at upper middle grade through adult due to the nature of the crime itself.

  • George
    2019-06-06 02:38

    STRAIGHTFORWARD, AND WELL TOLD.“…what Marshal Hilliard had told the press was true. He did not have one atom of direct evidence linking Lizzie Borden to the crime.” (Kindle location 1267)As a native of Fall River, Massachusetts, I’ve had a life-long fascination with the stories of Lizzie Borden, and the brutal axe murders of her father and her stepmother. Aimed at the middle-grade reader, Sarah Miller’s recently released book, The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century relates the story in a very readable and straightforward manner. It’s hard not to sensationalize such a grusome tale, but Ms. Miller manages quite nicely to avoid much of the muck, and wilder speculation, while sharing the relevant facts. Kudos to Ms. Miller.I especially liked the many sidebars she included explaining and defining much of the legalize, and many of the asides, of this mystery. We’ll never know; but this version of the story gives us much to think about.Recommendation: I’m hesitant to recommend this story to twelve year olds, but, then, I remember I read much more vile and grusome stuff at that age, myself. It’s an infamous tale, one of the two things to put Fall River on the literary map (the other: The Skeleton in Armor). So, yes, I can and do recommend it to young and old. “Despite the grip that legend continues to hold on the polpular imagination, almost anyone who studies the Borden trial has no choice but to admit that the jury returned the proper verdict: not guilty. […] But was Lizzie Borden truly innocent? We may never know.” (Kindle location 3960)

  • Kris - My Novelesque Life
    2019-05-25 00:23

    THE BORDEN MURDERS: LIZZIE BORDEN AND THE TRIAL OF THE CENTURYWritten by Sarah Miller2016; 304 PagesGenre: true crime, history, nonfiction(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.) ★★★In 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were found murdered in their home and their daughter, Lizzie is soon arrested. In this true crime book, Sarah Miller takes the reader on a linear look at the case from the moment the Bordens are murdered to when Lizzie dies. We sees the different theories that have been thrown around then and now. Where the key players were and their motives. Miller also supplies some historical context of the time to gives us some ideas of what that time was like It reads like a textbook rather than a story which is not a bad thing. While the book is about crime and murder, it isn't gory in details but I would pin this one at mid to late teens to adults. A must for any true crime buff...or one in the making!

  • Debbie
    2019-06-18 23:26

    As I had really only seen the movie with Elizabeth Montgomery, I was interested in learning more about this. As I recall in the movie, the houses weren't quite as close as they seem to be in this book which is even more perplexing. This was a very informative book that I enjoyed reading. Apparently, the law of hearsay had not been made around this time. I was both alarmed and amazed at the rumors that were flying about this poor woman and what was being allowed to be said in a court of law. The author did a lot of research on this subject. While the subject was quite grisly, I found the book interesting. It's still perplexing to me that no one was found to be guilty of these murders even after all this time.Thanks Random House Childrens and Net Galley for providing me with this free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Mike Kriznar
    2019-06-11 19:27

    Michael J. Kriznar The Borden Murders Lizzie Border & The Trial of The Century It was August 4, 1892, in Fall River Massachusetts, where the crime of the century occurred. Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered. They were struck in the head with a hatchet many times until dead. This is where the famous poem began:Lizzie Borden took an axe,Gave her mother forty whacks.When she saw what she had done, Gave her father forty-one.Mrs. Borden was murdered in the bedroom upstairs, while Mr. Borden was murdered on the couch in the living room. This case has bothered people for over a hundred years. Even though the Borden murders happened so long ago, it reminds me of the famous murder that happened in 1992; the Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman murders. Both case had a lot of circumstantial evidence, each case had a trial, and both ended with a not guilty verdict. In the Simpson case the husband of Nicole was tried for murder, while in the Borden case Lizzie, the daughter was arrested and went to trail. After the murders happened, the police arrived and begin their investigation. All members of the house were questioned for a long period. The house was thoroughly searched, including the barn and the surroundings outside. The daughter Lizzie was the main suspect from the beginning. She was grilled many times about the day’s events. Lizzie began to change her story throughout the next couple of days. The stories were similar, but somewhat different. The town was in total shock and the residents flooded the streets in front of her home where the killings took place. After more investigation, the Borden family held a funeral. The bodies were put in caskets and placed in the house for viewing among family and friends. After the viewing the bodies were taken to the cemetery and a small ceremony performed. Once concluded and the family left, the bodies were put into a vault and the coroner picked them up. This was very strange to me, as normally the autopsies are performed before the funeral. Lizzie was questioned many times by the district attorney, and he would change a question to see if she answered it the same. Many times, it would change a little, and she became very confused. Many people believe her confusion came from the morphine she was taking following the murders to help her nerves, and help her sleep. The doctor who lived across the street gave her a prescription for the morphine. No one will ever know if that was the reason for her confusion, but that is a side effect for that drug.During the court inquest or arraignment, it was revealed that during the autopsies, the head of Mr. and Mrs. Borden were removed. The bodies were then buried headless. It was revealed that the medical examiner took all the skin off the heads and removed everything until just the skull was remaining. To this day, I have never heard of such a thing happening again, and wonder what the main reason for that was. After the inquest Lizzie, was held over for trial as the judge found sufficient evidence for a guilty verdict. This was not unusual, as the judge had signed the original arrest warrant. The trial began in June, 1893. The New Bedford Courthouse before a panel of three judges. The twelve men who were appointed to the jury would render a verdict. During the opening remarks by the district attorney, he threw down a dress and it disturbed some paperwork on the table and revealed the two skulls of Mr. and Mrs. Borden. It causes commotion in the courtroom for those who saw it, especially Lizzie. Part of the defense was that Lizzie had an ugly relationship with her step mother. The first witness stated she never saw that, stating everything was pleasant. The next witness talked about Lizzie’s reaction to the murders over the next couple of days. Many believe no one knows how anyone would react to such an event. At times, Lizzie was emotional and other time acted as if like nothing happened. The defense made its case from the prosecution’s own witnesses. It was written in the paper “There was never so many surprises.” The most damaging aspect of the trial came when the three-judge panel ruled that Lizzie Borden’s inquest testimony, which was full of holes and contradictions could not be used against her as they had already issued a warrant for her arrest but hadn’t served it to her. She should had been given her rights under the fifth amendment. This basically sealed a victory for the defense. After a few more witnesses and closing arguments, the judge released the jury for a verdict. Within one and half hours the jury returned a “Not guilty” verdict. The author of The Borden Murders, Sarah Miller, has done an excellent job in writing the story and trying to be neutral in the book. When discussing the ending Sarah Miller, makes a great point that people need to always remember, “Memories, it turns out, are not verbatim recordings that allow limitless, identical replay. They are assembled, piece by piece, each time the brain calls up a scene from the past, making our recollections quite literally re-collections. Information gleaned from related sources and experiences, such as being questioned by police or reading news reports, can and does influence a witness’s memory of an event.” This is so very true for each case that is brought in court, or just talking to family member about something that happened a few months ago. Each can have a different version. I found this book to be very thrilling and hard to put down. This would be recommended for children in high school, although some might find it hard to read, due to the gory details. The Borden Murders, like the O.J. Simpson trail, makes me want more information about the case. I would also find Lizzie Borden not guilty with the information presented. I feel she probably was guilty, but not enough information, except circumstantial, was presented. Some of the testimony was contradictory to the evidence. The same is true with O.J. Simpson. I felt he was guilty, but when the glove didn’t fit, not much more could be done, except find him not guilty.

  • Kristen
    2019-06-04 00:38

    More like 2.5 stars, for me, but I'm rounding up to 3 because my problems with this book were more about my expectations going into the book, and not due to any fault of the book itself. This is a pretty straightforward (although definitely sympathetic to Lizzie Borden) recount of the facts surrounding the murder of Lizzie Borden's father and stepmother, and her resulting arrest, trial, and acquittal. I knew enough about the Borden murders that there wasn't much new information in it for me, but this is a good overview if you don't know much about them. I guess I wanted more analysis, rather than just a recounting of the case, but that's not what this book is, and if you really just want to know the story of what happened, this is a good place to start. For teens who are interested in gruesome murders or true crime, especially those who don't know much about the Borden murders, this will definitely be in high demand.

  • chucklesthescot
    2019-05-27 20:27

    I knew the vague telling of the story but not the details of it and the subject has always fascinated me so I was happy to take a look at this book to find out more.Lizzie and her family had recently been a bit sick, which later led to speculation that someone had been poisoning the family. I have heard all kinds of stories about a bastard son trying to get Mr Borden's money by killing the others, Lizzie doing the poisoning or it just being a simple matter of food poisoning. In this book a man claims to have refused to sell a poison to someone he said was Lizzie, which her lawyer hotly denied.A number of days later, Lizzie's father and stepmother were both found in the house brutally attacked and killed by numerous blows with an axe. It barely took the police any time to decide that Lizzie had done it based on the fact that they didn't like the way she answered the questions. I found the so called investigation shocking and the police case was very quick to unravel as the court case went on. Public opinion was against Lizzie on the basis that she looked too calm and controlled during the crisis so hey, she must have done it! I'm not going to detail every aspect of the case but the missing dress, the footprints in the other building and the house layout were three of the many bizarre bits of evidence put against Lizzie.Anyone interested in the case of course knows the end result was Lizzie going free but really when you read this you wonder how it ever got to court in the first place. The men seemed to dislike Lizzie as a woman and did everything they could to convict her for something she didn't do. The trial itself was fascinating to read about and there is a lot of detail on it. We also get an insight into the Borden family and Lizzie's life after being found not guilty, where most of the town made her a pariah despite the verdict.If you have an interest in Lizzie Borden and her trial, I would recommend it.

  • Amy
    2019-06-15 01:24

    Lizzie Borden had three major misfortunes:1. Her parents were brutally murdered2. She was incriminatingly close to the scene of the crime and had an alibi that seemed curious in the best of circumstances3. She didn't play the part of the fragile Victorian womanThis book takes up all three misfortunes and lingers on the third, which presents an interesting sort of paradox for women in the Victorian era: in order for them to be respected, they must act weak.Lizzie's culpability was noted on in the case, in part because, according to police notes..."There was not the least indication of agitation, no sign of sorrow or grief, no lamentation of teh heart, no comment on the horror of the crime, and no expression of a wish that the criminal be caught."Borden, who Miller describes as "a combination of frankness and fearless honesty," is a character of scant written record but of much depth. She is woven well into this sprawling narrative of a horrific murder and the almost-as-horrific obstructions of justice and rumor-mongering in the press in the follow-up criminal proceedings. Without Miller's attention to character, this book would be exceedingly procedural and dry, as the case of the Borden murders rested on many technical details.As is, this book is a little too technical for most middle school readers, but I wouldn't be surprised if I found a reader or two who delighted in this story as much as I did. For high school readers, I'd be interested in a full-scale comparison between the police's treatment of Lizzie based on her "acting guilty" and contemporary police confrontations with young African-American men.

  • Julie Graves
    2019-06-11 02:46

    What a way to start off the new year of reading! A non-fiction story of a murder. Years ago I saw the movie of Lizzie Borden portrayed by Elizabeth Montgomery(from the show Bewitched), and it portrayed Lizzie as guilty. I didn't realize what a mess the whole investigation was! In this book the author separates facts from fiction and legend. I found the whole story very interesting. I think that I, like most people, assumed that Lizzie Borden got away with murder, after all, if you are anyone around my age or older you grew up hearing the old rhyme:Lizzie Borden took an axe,Gave her mother forty whacks.When she saw what she had done,She gave her father forty-one. The author of The Borden Murders presents what evidence, and transcripts from the trial are still available. While I think the idea was to present unbiased information and to debunk myth and legends surrounding Lizzie's life, I did get the impression that the author probably believes that Lizzie was innocent of the murders of her parents. Nobody will ever know the truth of what happened that day in 1892, if Lizzie was guilty she took that secret with her to her grave. This book is marketed as a middle-grade book. I'm not sure I agree with that. Maybe I am selling the middle graders short, but I don't see that age group being interested in something that happened in the 1800's let alone being interested in reading about the trial. I on the other hand found it a very interesting read and was totally engrossed while reading.

  • Jennifer
    2019-06-12 19:20

    I never had any interest in this true crime story, and it always gave me chills to think that it really happened. I picked this book up because it had excellent reviews and it peaked my true crime interest. I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed this book and was fascinated by the story. It was very well researched with a full bibliography, index and haunting photographs. The first half of the book was about the crime and Lizzie Borden as a person, humanizing her and setting up the scene. The second half of the book was about the police investigation and court trial, a much less exciting part of the book, but still good. I thought the author took a complicated true crime case and almost brought it back to life, as I was able to imagine myself in the time period contemplating the facts. There were some graphic parts of the crime, and some photos, but nothing that shocked me considering what the book was about. I would recommend it for older readers.

  • Naomi Blackburn
    2019-05-26 19:30

    Ms. Miller has mastered keeping the story of Lizzie Borden alive for middle school/early high school reader, even though I must say that as an adult I found this book fascinating. Clearly researched, even given the younger audience, Ms. Miller focused lightly on the actual crime and more on the aftermath, including the trial. The book flowed well and allowed me to read it quickly because of the author's writing style. I think this book would lead to interesting discussions in the classroom, not only on guilt/innocence, but also the American judicial system. Targeted towards the younger reader, Ms. Miller kept the true aspects/forensics of the crime limited for more sensitive readers. Reviewed for publisher through Netgalley

  • Linda
    2019-05-20 22:20

    The author did a very through investigation into the sensational trial of Lizzie Borden. After reading the story, I think the acquittal of Lizzie Borden was the correct verdict. There was never any real evidence against her, but the town mostly believed her guilty. That she continued to live the rest of her life in the town, surprised me. She did move to another house, but still was unwelcome by many in the town. I guess we will never know for sure, but I for one think she was innocent.

  • Cynthia
    2019-06-12 03:42

    I have always been oddly fascinated by the Lizzie Borden story. Maybe because the crime occurred on my birthday?!? Or maybe because nobody really knows who did it! You may feel strongly a certain way after reading this book as it gives you as much evidence and background as is possible. I know what I believe....

  • Amy
    2019-05-19 02:33

    Very well done. An unbiased account of the Borden murders, and the trial that followed.

  • Heather
    2019-06-09 02:44

    Freaking fantastic. Fascinating story. lean toward not guilty.

  • Angela Choe
    2019-05-24 01:24

    I honestly thought I would not finish the book. In the beginning, I had such a hard time trying to finish each chapter. I felt that the book was moving too slow. Also, I felt that every detail was repeated multiple times under the guise of a new sentence. However, in the end, this book turned out to be a wonderful read. The style of the book was very effective in guiding the reader through the case of Lizzie Borden and the history of that time. In fact, the gray box text not only helped the reader understand, but also it provided additional context that would have been difficult to incorporate into a book like this.I greatly appreciate the author for writing this book as neutrally as possible, even though the bias surrounding this case was massive. The style of this book showed the reader the whole case and I realized the first few chapters I struggled to read through were purposely written to show the reader all the key details, no matter how repetitive. In the end, the book did a wonderful job letting the reader think for themselves. For example, by the end of this book, I was deeply frustrated with the police department and their lack of care with some of the evidence along with the insanity of the media. Also, by the end, I think that Lizzie Borden was innocent, but with no other suspects and her changing testimonies, I can also see why people thought she was guilty.This book would be a good book to read with middle school students. Together, we can use the book to have discussions about the justice system, the media, and multiple other topics. Also, it would be awesome to debate about the Lizzie Borden case too. Overall, this book and its possible discussions would be effective in the classroom.

  • Jann
    2019-05-29 22:29

    The book wasn't strong because of the story, in my opinion. It was strong because of the author's meticulous attention to detail and explanation for what was included, how it was included, and why. The facts of the case are laid out clearly, but mixed with enough of the popular embellishments (and a knack for debunking them plainly), that it's easy to follow. The facts of the case are interesting, potentially salacious, and grisly enough on their own. All it needs here to avoid being a glorified tabloid is some common sense, attention to the humanity involved, and care with facts that are over 120 years old. The thing I liked is the comprehensive, unbiased nature. I'm not obsessed with this case, but it was interesting enough to read a book about and I'm glad this is the book I chose. Just when you start to think society at the turn of the 20th century was so different in nearly every way, you realize this 'trial of the century' spent a large portion of time talking about a dress while a later 'trial of the century' spent a lot of time with a leather glove. The details may have changed, but the basic themes of crime, specifically homicide within families, and how we as a society treat both the victims and the accused, remain surprisingly similar. But also we have a tendency to record and quantify everything and how interesting would it be to have transcripts or recordings of a lot of this?

  • Jillian
    2019-05-21 21:25

    I think this book was one of the harder reads for me personally. I am terrible with these sort of crime and killing books, I have never been an avid reader of them. Although how tough it was for me to read, it was very interesting and it is crazy to think it all really happened. A well respected and affluent family who were living normal lives one day and the next gone. But who is accused is the big twist their own blood, Lizzie. I think this is the hardest part of the book for me to wrap my head around. To think if I was apart of that family and to know what happened, I do not think I could understand why and how this drama occurred. I also could not be calm if I were in Lizzie's place whether she had done the crime or not. It would just be hard to be on the stand and be accused of something.The book had started with the whole event being an unsolved murder, but Lizzie being accused. The book then follows up on how Lizzie had gotten into this predicament. From the morning of this event to after it had all happened. While doing this they mainly rely on newspapers and court transcripts to create the entire scene. This part also made me feel uneasy. Watching criminal minds is one things because you can see everything fallout into one big mess, but when you are reading it feels more suspenseful because you have to keep reading to get to the big reveals. I felt that while reading this entire book I could not catch my breath. One thing that I did find interesting was that the author never made their stance on the case, they had taken us on this journey but never said their opinion to whether she was guilty or not. Over all I think this book took me on a reading journey that I was unfamiliar with, but I found it to be interesting and a learning experience.