True crimes are an exciting trend in non-fiction books, as the world looks for something to entertain and keep itself busy.
You only have to check out your Netflix list to see the world’s fascination with true crime.
Documentaries on the subject are more popular than ever before during the pandemic, as we’re all keen to keep ourselves busy.
While solved crimes will always be fascinating, unsolved mysteries are even more so.
There’s the suspense and the mystery, which makes them all the more intriguing. Think about how well the legend of Jack The Ripper has endured in popular fiction and the media.
If the killer had been caught, then he might not have been as interesting to writers, artists and social commentators.
I’ve already gone over the best true crime books and serial killer books for documentary fans, so now I thought I’d showcase 5 awesome books about true cases of unsolved mysteries.
After all, unsolved mysteries are a unique part of our lives. While you’re never likely to solve the crime by reading a book, it’s interesting to check out all the facts and see them from different perspectives.
If you’re looking for a book about unsolved crimes, then keep reading and maybe you’ll find a new favourite!
5. Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery: Investigative journalist Robert Kolker delves into the lives of five women who worked as escorts and advertised their services on the website Craigslist. Over the span of several years, young women who sold their time and services on the site were lured to their death on Long Island. Kolker worked with the families of the young women who were presumed to be the victims of a serial killer and explores how their lives were shaped by poverty. There could have been many other victims, and not all might be the victims of the same killer, but this story is more about the women and what led them into the work that put them in the path of a killer. The author works to produce a very human portrayal, not of the unknown killer, but of the women whose lives they took.
4. Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident: It’s a chilling tale that could easily be the plot of a film. A group of experienced hikers is taking on a trail in the northern Ural Mountains during the 1950s. They’re bodies are discovered, but it’s clear that something strange has happened. The bodies exhibit signs of violence, they’ve clearly run out of their tents unprepared and there are mysterious photos and other weird information that doesn’t add up. In 2019 the Russian authorities launched an investigation, and branded the incident the work of an avalanche, but many remain unconvinced. In 2013, Donnie Eichar put together this compelling overview of the trip and the incidents leading up to the tragic deaths of the group. He goes into detail about what happened and offers intriguing theories. He presents the tale well, so that the reader is propelled through the story all the way through to the mysterious, and still completely unresolved, ending.
3. The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft: I’d never even heard of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the art heist that rocked Boston until I saw a recent Netflix documentary on the subject. The show wasn’t very well structured and it offered its information haphazardly and out of logical order. However, the one benefit of the documentary was that it did interest me in this strange case. So, in my quest for more information on the subject, I went in search of a book about the case, which was never solved. Journalist Ulrich Boser delves into the case in this insightful book, basing it on the case files of a detective who specialises in art thefts, Harold Smith. He’d dedicated a many years to the case, and after his death Boser took his notes and turned them into a comprehensive overview of the case, all of the evidence in it and potential scenarios that could have occurred when this selection of valuable art was spirited away. The report explores Smith’s leads and a range of ideas, ranging from run of the mill theories to downright crazy suppositions involving tenuous links to big time gangers like James Whitey Bulger. The book also offers an informative insight into the formation of this unique and illustrious museum, which was founded by a wealthy heiress who wanted to make it a hub for art lovers. If you’re interested in learning more about the case, which remains one of the biggest unsolved art thefts in the world to this very day, then this book is a comprehensive and compelling choice.
2. Blood And Money: This insightful book covers the unique case of Joan Robinson Hill, a successful horse rider living in Houston, Texas. She was also the daughter of a ruthless oil tycoon and the wife of an ambitious plastic surgeon. Joan died in suspicious circumstances, and her husband quickly married his mistress shortly after her death. Joan’s father believed that she was killed by her husband, who had been eager to leave her for some time before her death, but he was indebted to her father and being blackmailed by him to stay with his daughter and avoid a scandal. After her death, Joan’s father pursued her husband for murder through medical negligence, as he didn’t take her to hospital for several days after she became sick, and when he was eventually pressured into taking her to one he took her to a small hospital without an emergency room, rather than a larger hospital. It was never proved that John Hill killed his wife, although many people have alleged it. After an initial mistrial, thanks to the sensational claims of his second estranged second wife, John Hill was murdered himself. While his killers were caught and found to have links to his former father in law, he was never charged with organising the hit. The fascinating case is as scandalous and complex as it sounds, with so many twists and complications that it’s almost impossible to keep up. Thankfully, Blood And Money lays out the case in a logical manner, giving the reader access to the facts. Thomas Thompson covers this sensational case clearly and creates a compelling narrative that helps to untangle this confusing tale.
1. Zodiac: Many people have seen the film Zodiac starring Robert Downey Junior, but some people don’t realise that it was actually based on real life events. The zodiac killings shocked America to its core, and the fact that the killer was never identified is unprecedented and incredible. Robert Graysmith’s 1986 book on the subject is acknowledged by many to be a definitive account of what occurred during the killing spree, which occurred in the 1960s and 70s and was highly publicised. It’s also the book on which the movie was based. The book goes into far more detail than the movie does, and discusses every aspect of the case, explores the lives and deaths of the 6 known victims, as well as the killer’s claims and potential motives. It’s a compelling account that’s definitely a must-read for thriller loves and anyone who’s interested in mysteries that may never be solved.