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The Borden Murders
Cover of The Borden Murders
The Borden Murders
Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century
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With murder, court battles, and sensational newspaper headlines, the story of Lizzie Borden is compulsively readable and perfect for the Common Core.   Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother...
With murder, court battles, and sensational newspaper headlines, the story of Lizzie Borden is compulsively readable and perfect for the Common Core.   Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother...
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Description-

  • With murder, court battles, and sensational newspaper headlines, the story of Lizzie Borden is compulsively readable and perfect for the Common Core.
     
    Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.
     
    In a compelling, linear narrative, Miller takes readers along as she investigates a brutal crime: the August 4, 1892, murders of wealthy and prominent Andrew and Abby Borden. The accused? Mild-mannered and highly respected Lizzie Borden, daughter of Andrew and stepdaughter of Abby. Most of what is known about Lizzie’s arrest and subsequent trial (and acquittal) comes from sensationalized newspaper reports; as Miller sorts fact from fiction, and as a legal battle gets under way, a gripping portrait of a woman and a town emerges.
     
    With inserts featuring period photos and newspaper clippings—and, yes, images from the murder scene—readers will devour this nonfiction book that reads like fiction.
    A School Library Journal Best Best Book of the Year
    "Sure to be a hit with true crime fans everywhere." —School Library Journal, Starred

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    Thursday, August 4, 1892
     
     
    Lizzie could hardly look past the blood, there was so much of it. Blood soaked Mr. Borden’s neatly folded Prince Albert coat. It dripped from the slick horsehair cushions to the flowered carpet below. It arced in a fine spatter across the wall and picture frame above. In the midst of it all, her father lay stretched out on the couch with his face so carved and bloodied that she did not know whether he was alive or dead. “I did not notice anything else, I was so frightened and horrified. I ran to the foot of the stairs and called Maggie.”
     
    Bridget Sullivan—nicknamed Maggie by Lizzie and her sister—had barely managed to drift to sleep when the shouting woke her. Bridget did not dally an instant. A housemaid had no business stealing a few winks at eleven in the morning, and besides,that scream was too loud, too strident for any ordinary reprimand.
     
    “What is the matter?” Bridget shouted back.
     
    “Come down quick!”
     
    Down three flights of stairs Bridget came pounding to find Miss Lizzie Borden in a state such as she’d never seen before—backed up against the screen door as though she were about to flee the house entirely.
     
    “Go for Dr. Bowen as soon as you can,” Lizzie commanded. “I think Father is hurt.”
     
    Instinctively Bridget moved toward the sitting room to see what was the matter with her employer, Mr. Andrew Borden. “Oh, Maggie, don’t go in,” Lizzie cried. “I have got to have a doctor quick. Go over. I have got to have the doctor,” she insisted.
     
    Bridget dashed across Second Street and “rang violently” at Dr. Bowen’s door, only to have Mrs. Bowen inform her that the­doctor was out making house calls. Back Bridget hurried with the bad news. Lizzie had not budged from the doorway.
     
    “Miss Lizzie, where was you?” Bridget ventured to ask. “Didn’t I leave the screen door hooked?”
     
    “I was out in the backyard and heard a groan, and came in and the screen door was wide open.”
     
    But Lizzie Borden did not want to answer questions. She wanted help. If she could not have the doctor, she wanted her friend, Miss Alice Russell. “Go and get her,” she begged. “I can’t be alone in the house.”
     
    Bridget yanked her hat and shawl from their hook and took off toward Borden Street.
     
    Lizzie Borden waited, alone—as far as anyone knew. There were three locks on the front door. No one intent on harming her father could have gotten in that way. And anyone who might still be lurking inside could not possibly escape without her notice now.
     
    “Lizzie, what is the matter?” said a voice from behind her. But it was only Mrs. Adelaide Churchill, the young widow next door. On her way home from her marketing she’d noticed Bridget crossing the street from Dr. Bowen’s house, “running, and she looked as if she was scared.” Mrs. Churchill went straight home and laid her groceries on a bench in the kitchen. Through her kitchen window she caught a glimpse of Miss Lizzie leaning against the doorway of the back screen, rubbing her face “as if she was in great distress.” The young woman looked so much out of sorts, Mrs. Churchill had opened her window and called across the fence.
     
    “O, Mrs. Churchill,” Lizzie answered, “do come over, somebody has killed Father.”
     
    By the time Mrs. Churchill hurried across the...

About the Author-

  • Sarah Miller is the author of two historical fiction novels, Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller, which was called “an accomplished debut” in a starred review from Booklist and was named an ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book, and The Lost Crown, about the Romanovs, hailed as “fascinating” in a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and named an ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 5, 2015
    Miller (The Lost Crown) presents an exhaustive look at the famous unsolved murders of August 1892, in which Abby and Andrew Borden were found killed by axe in their home in Fall River, Mass., and of which Andrew’s daughter (and Abby’s stepdaughter), Lizzie, was accused. Starting with the morning of the murders, the narrative traces the events leading to Lizzie’s arrest, then details her time in prison and her trial. Miller relies on newspaper accounts and court transcripts to create lively scenes filled with authentic dialogue, making for a suspenseful crime story, which is all the more intriguing for its lasting doubt. Numerous sidebars provide background on subjects like legal proceedings and mourning dress, point out the differences between newspaper coverage of a testimony and the testimony itself, and explore topics of side interest, like what the Bordens ate for breakfast—all of which immerse readers in the life of that era. Photos, diagrams, and Miller’s thoughtful note on researching the book combine with the energetic text to engage readers in their own debate as to Lizzie Borden’s guilt or innocence. Ages 10–up. Agent: Wendy Schmalz, Wendy Schmalz Agency.

  • Kirkus

    October 1, 2015
    This true-crime narrative examines the question that mesmerized the nation in 1892: did Lizzie Borden kill her father and stepmother? With an evenhanded approach, the author crafts a gripping story full of well-documented dialogue drawn from legal records. Lizzie Borden was the 32-year-old daughter of a wealthy but frugal businessman in Fall River, Massachusetts. She quickly became the prime suspect when Andrew and Abby Borden were bludgeoned to death in the home she shared with them. A conviction would result in the death penalty. After a brief prologue, a short section describes the gruesome scenes when the bodies were discovered, followed by an introduction to the Borden family. The rest of the chapters chronicle the investigation, hearings, and trial. An initial "Who's Who" keeps the many players straight, while diagrams and photographs of the Borden house help readers picture the layout. Frequent sidebars, integrated gracefully into the text, add context. The detailed narrative separates fact from fiction, discussing and sometimes dismissing rumors and sensational newspaper reports. It's hard to get a sense of personalities due to lack of reliable information, but the courtroom scenes are vivid and exciting. The high-appeal topic will attract many readers, and the suspenseful account will have them trying to solve this still unresolved murder mystery. (author's note, endnotes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from November 1, 2015

    Gr 7 Up-Lizzie Borden: the name alone conjures up the legendary story of a daughter who brutally hacked her parents to death with an axe. And yet, as this thoroughly researched account demonstrates, the story is far more complicated. Miller untangles a complex story of a misunderstood young woman, difficult family dynamics, sensationalized news stories, bungling detectives, and more. Borden's father and stepmother were murdered with an axe or hatchet of some kind while both Borden and the family housekeeper were at home. The evidence against Borden was circumstantial at best and nonexistent at worst. Nonetheless, she was indicted for the crime and sent to jail for the duration of the investigation and succeeding trial. Miller carefully walks readers through the cast of characters, the mores and customs of the time, legal procedures, varying newspaper accounts, and the enormous amount of gossip that all became part of the landscape surrounding this crime. Extensive use of primary source documents reveals that much is still not known about the case. Fans of the podcast Serial will find much to enjoy here, as each chapter reveals a new piece of the puzzle and examines it from every angle available. Photographs, documents, and other ephemera are included and round out the narrative, creating a wonderfully full and accessible account of this moment in history. VERDICT Though readers will know the outcome of the trial from the very beginning, they will be invested in the narrative. Sure to be a hit with true crime fans everywhere.-Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    November 15, 2015
    Grades 7-10 Lizzie Borden's trial for the murders of her father and stepmother captivated her contemporaries, and her story became fodder for salacious gossip and fanatic newspaper coverage. In this even-handed account, Miller sifts through misinformation to deliver the facts, scant as they are, and recount the intricacies of the court case that drew thousands to tiny Fall River, Massachusetts. Beginning with the morning of the murders, Miller pieces together the events from sworn testimonies and the more reputable articles from the period. Since the most reliable information came from court records, most of Miller's account takes place in the court room, which can occasionally become dry, particularly given the obtuse nature of nineteenth-century writing. Nevertheless, Miller frequently uses the case to clarify sometimes-muddy details about the law, such as the difference between an inquest and grand jury. Gory details abound, but Miller is careful not to take a side. Plenty of photos, informative inset boxes, and an extensive bibliography round out this well-researched resource, which invites students to think critically about an infamous story.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

  • School Library Journal starred review "Fans of the podcast Serial will find much to enjoy here, as each chapter reveals a new piece of the puzzle and examines it from every angle available...Sure to be a hit with true crime fans everywhere."
  • Kirkus Reviews "The high-appeal topic will attract many readers, and the suspenseful account will have them trying to solve this still unresolved murder mystery."
  • Publishers Weekly "...an exhaustive look at the famous unsolved murders of August 1892...Miller relies on newspaper accounts and court transcripts to create lively scenes filled with authentic dialogue, making for a suspenseful crime story, which is all the more intriguing for its lasting doubt."

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