The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago by Douglas Perry
Penguin Paperback / On Sale: July 26, 2011
“The Girls of Murder City spans several categories—true-crime, comedy, social history. It turns out that behind ‘Chicago’ there was a sexy, swaggering, historical tale in no need of a soundtrack. Liked the movie. Loved the book.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“For true crime buffs, history fans or anyone interested in the roaring 1920s, this one’s a sure-fire hit.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“[A] well-researched, fast-paced story behind the story.”
“Entertaining…wised up…savvy, flamboyant social history”
“Perry takes a sturdy foundation of murder, sex and Chicago’s scandal-happy newspapers and builds a nonfiction marvel. His bouncy, exuberant prose perfectly complements the theatricality of the proceedings, and he deftly maneuvers away from the main story without ever losing momentum . . . The Girls of Murder City not only illustrates the origins of a new media monster, but reminds us that we’ve
never been that innocent.”
“Recaptures a moment in which the Victorian feminine ideal was (and wasn’t) giving way to the “churning change” of the flapper lifestyle — and ebulliently elucidates the emergence of the criminal as celebrity. It’s this summer’s “not guilty” pleasure.”
—NPR, Books We Like
From Al Capone to Leopold and Loeb, the history of Prohibition-era Chicago violence is the stuff of legend. But what of the fairer sex? On the bookshelf beside SIN IN THE SECOND CITY and THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, Douglas Perry has recreated the glamour, intensity, and notoriety of this iconic time and place in The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago. Fueled by rich period detail, a narrative voice that perfectly channels the pulse of Jazz Age Chicago, and a cast of characters that seem destined for the stage, Perry has written a crackling history that simultaneously presents the freewheeling spirit of the age and its sober repercussions.
Why did you write The Girls of Murder City?
Douglas Perry: Because no one else had. When I first saw Chicago: The Musical, back in the late ’90s, I read in the playbill that Maurine Watkins had based the original play on actual murder trials she covered for the Chicago Tribune in 1924. I expected to be able to find a book about the real events but none existed. This surprised me because the real story is so amazing. It has beautiful women, wanton sex, cold-blooded murder, all-consuming corruption, devastating heartbreak. Even Al Capone and Leopold and Loeb make appearances.