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The Saga of the Bloody Benders (A Treasury of Victorian Murder) Hardcover – July 5, 2007


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The Saga of the Bloody Benders (A Treasury of Victorian Murder) + Madison Square Tragedy: The Murder of Stanford White (Treasury of XXth Century Murder)
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Product Details

  • Series: A Treasury of Victorian Murder
  • Hardcover: 76 pages
  • Publisher: NBM Publishing (July 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561634980
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561634989
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Geary's ninth volume in his violent but informative and well-researched series covers the little known tale of the so-called Bloody Benders, a mysterious family of possibly German immigrants who set up a small grocery/hotel catering to travelers along the Osage Trail in southern Kansas in 1870. The townspeople figure out pretty quick that the Benders are an odd lot (the ethereally beautiful daughter holds séances and claims to be a healer, while the ape-like father barely speaks, and the son seems simpleminded). It takes them quite a bit longer to glom on to the fact that too many travelers, especially those with money, are disappearing near the Benders' place. By the time the locals catch on, the Benders have fled, leaving a multitude of gruesome clues behind. Because much about the Benders remains unknown, the story easily lends itself to fantasy and speculation, and Geary recounts theories about who they really were and what happened to them, presented in a quite credible manner, all accompanied by his usual exquisite art. Geary's riveting writing has a journalistic, matter-of-fact tone, making it quite palatable to adult audiences; though the subject matter may make some school librarians think twice. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up—The Bender clan—nearly silent mother, German-speaking father, voluble adult son, and flirtatious adult daughter—arrives in Kansas in the early 1870s. On the prairie, along the Osage Trail that travelers take from northeast to central south in their new state, the family builds a combination dwelling, inn, and grocery. It's just a small frame house really, with family quarters curtained off from the larger area of the building where the public stops in for provisions, a meal, or perhaps a night's rest. There's a basement underneath, with a large, flat stone serving as its floor. Travelers in the vicinity are disappearing, but for a long time no one realizes it. As ever, Geary's details are well researched and presented in suspenseful, Victorian-like perspective, moody with minimalist detail. Period social concepts are folded into the storytelling, including the use of the term "savages" by a visiting missionary who manages to escape alive when he senses movement behind the curtain partition-the movement of Mr. Bender passing, carrying a small sledgehammer. True-crime fans will enjoy this book and history teachers may find inspiration for joining research to compelling storytelling.—Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Geary draws and tells the story brilliantly.
Sam Quixote
The story kept me hooked and strapped to my seat.
D. Sorel
This book is written as a comic or cartoon book.
K. Curtis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amanda J. Henning on October 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
I almost didn't order this book for the teen section of the library where I work, and I was honestly surprised at how fantastic it was when it came in. The pen and ink illustrations are beautiful and detailed, and Geary tells the story with interest. All of our staff members are hooked on this series now, I'm currently reading "The Case of Madeline Smith" and love it! Great series for fans of true crime..
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Geary has opened a chapter in history in a very accessible way with this graphic novel series.

And "The Bloody Benders" is a fine addition to the series, recounting th history of a family of robber/murderers in the West that kill by stealth, & could easily appear in today's headlines. Their disappearance as mysterious as their lives.

Geary's art & writing improve steadily as time goes by, & while the first volumes in the series are very, very good, this one has a fine polish to it.

If you like it, try these--
The Big Book of the Weird Wild West: How the West was Really Won! (Factoid Books)

Daisy Kutter: The Last Train (Daisy Kutter: The Last Train (Turtleback))
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Rick Geary's graphic novel series A TREASURY OF VICTORIAN MURDER returns with volume 9 of the series especially recommended for prior fans of his graphic novel mysteries. Black and white drawings illustrate the story of four strange people who use seduction to attract wealthy victims, whom they then kill. Excellent action and high drama mystery lends to a fast-paced graphic novel story hard to put down, and recommended for any general-interest holding strong in graphic novels.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on February 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
Victorian era crimes have an oddly enduring appeal for folks of every literary taste and political predilection. For liberals, the dark underbelly
of that prim and proper age seems to demonstrate the notion that moral repression breeds violence and hypocrisy; for conservatives, the fact that
evil and sin lurked even beneath such a blessedly restrained surface, confirms a view of the world as old as the story of the Garden of Eden.
Fans of the great detectives take comfort in the idea that the mysteries of human behavior must yield to reason, science, and rigorous
procedure. Fans of the criminals revel in the impenetrability of the darkest recesses of the human heart and mind. But regardless of your own
personal views, there's no gainsaying the hold that Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes and company continue to exert on our imaginations.
Illustrator Rick Geary has been tapping into this lurid fascination for over a decade now, and NBM Publishing is reissuing some of the earlier
works in his acclaimed "Victorian Murders" series, beginning with the first, A Treasury of Victorian Murders. Mr. Geary accompanies three
brief tales of deliciously bloody (or poisonous) mayhem and murder with an introductory section that sets the Victorian stage and provides some
background on the times and the more famous personages of the day. His black-and-white drawings--which might owe something to Edward
Gorey but are nonetheless distinctive and original--provide a winsome, tongue-in-cheek contrast to the horrid events that he relates.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Geary has a precise penciling style that serves his true crime subject very well. He draws expressive faces and tells terrifying tales. This particular volume in his ongoing series details the story of the “Bloody Benders,” a family of murderous homesteaders in Kansas who murdered travelers and stole their goods. Despite being suspected of wrongdoing, the Benders escaped justice for most of their lives. The straightforward style of his art makes the mundane circumstances in which these horrible deeds were performed all that much more chilling.
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Format: Hardcover
Geary's graphic documentary "Treasury of Victorian Murder" series is a guilty pleasure, the sort of thing you almost don't want to admit you enjoy reading. They sometimes range into folklore and myth, but this volume is solidly historical, set in Labette County, Kansas, in the southeastern corner of the state, in 1870-73. It all begins with the arrival of "Pa" Bender, apparently a German immigrant, with the younger John Bender, apparently his son, who build a frame structure just off the regional business road that was once the Osage Trail. They put up a sign identifying the structure as an inn and grocery, and then their womenfolk arrive -- "Ma" Bender and the mysteriously attractive Kate. The Bender Inn becomes a regular stop for travelers and they seem to fit right into the neighborhood, with Kate receiving due attention from the local young men, . . . until inquiries begin to come in about individuals known to have traveled on horseback or by wagon through the area who never arrived at their destination, and who nearly always were carrying substantial amounts of cash. Suspicions are aroused among the locals, who come poking around and investigating, and suddenly the Benders are gone, packed up and disappeared themselves. The shovels come out. And then the bodies begin to appear. What happened to the Benders -- assuming that was even their name? Assuming they were even related? Nobody ever found out anything, though there were various claims and gossip. And Geary tells the story in his inimitable, rather creepy black-and-white art. He always reminds me in some way of Edward Gorey, though their styles are nothing alike. Maybe it's the facial expressions. Or maybe it's just the general weirdness of the material. But the books in this series are nearly all worth reading.
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