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Shallow Grave in Trinity County Hardcover – November, 1997
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Harry Farrell worked as a newspaper journalist for 40 years in San Jose, California. His first book, Swift Justice, about a 1930s kidnap-murder case that ended in a lynching of the perpetrators, won the Edgar Award for best fact crime of 1992. Shallow Grave in Trinity County is equally brilliant. In steady prose that is rich with details, Farrell describes how a weak-minded and repellent UC-Berkeley student was apprehended and convicted of the kidnap-murder of a 14-year-old girl, in the comparatively peaceful times of the 1950s. Shallow Grave is a model of how a true crime book should be written: the text is clear, chronological, compassionate, unembellished, and quietly gripping. Farrell not only gives readers all the facts of the case, both relevant and irrelevant, he also provides three maps of the region on which the exact sequence of the killer's actual movements (vs. those he alleged in his testimony) can be traced.
From School Library Journal
YA?Did Burton Abbott really kidnap and kill 12-year-old Stephanie Bryan in the spring of 1955? Although the truth will never be known, Farrell shows the frustration and lack of clues that the police and FBI encountered after the child disappeared on her way home from school. Three months later, Abbott and his wife found several of the girl's belongings in their cellar. When they called the police, they never imagined that Abbott would become the main suspect in this grizzly crime, but layer by layer, the investigation pointed to him as the guilty party. As the numerous clues and witnesses are presented in the text, the author footnotes names, dates, and events, reminding readers who these people are and how they are interrelated. Photographs from the investigation and trial are included. Much of the evidence would not be admissible in court today. This is also noted and explained in relation to modern laws and technology. Using old police and court files, Farrell re-creates this chilling crime while leaving his readers to judge for themselves whether Abbott was guilty as charged or innocent as he proclaimed right up until his execution. YAs will find picking apart the pieces of evidence a challenge as they try to construct their own theories.?Anita Short, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Unfortunately, I think Abbott's repetitive lying as well as physical evidence that kept leading back to him prove the state of California convicted the right person. I'm sorry for his now deceased mother, but hiding personal effects in a basement as well as the hasty burial near a cabin that belonged to his wife's family seems an awful lot of work to frame one person.
played out I was in high school. I remember reading
about the case and in my youth, it was a nightmare
which haunted me. A few months back I googled
the name Burton Abbott and found out about the case
and heard about the book Shallow Grave in Trinity County
and ordered it. I was now happy to dispense with the childhood
nightmares this case caused for me by reading about the actual case.
The book was very well-written and I can now lay the case to rest.
Most recent customer reviews
The descriptions of scenery and murder site so visual that you feel you are there..Read more