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Download The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago Audiobook, by Douglas Perry Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,126 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Douglas Perry Narrator: Peter Berkrot Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2010 ISBN: 9781400187690
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Chicago, 1924. There was nothing surprising about men turning up dead in the Second City. Life was cheaper than a quart of illicit gin in the gangland capital of the world. But two murders that spring were special-worthy of celebration. So believed Maurine Watkins, a wanna-be playwright and a "girl reporter" for the Chicago Tribune, the city's "hanging paper." Newspaperwomen were supposed to write about clubs, cooking, and clothes, but the intrepid Miss Watkins, a minister's daughter from a small town, zeroed in on murderers instead. Looking for subjects to turn into a play, she would make "Stylish Belva" Gaertner and "Beautiful Beulah" Annan-both of whom had brazenly shot down their lovers-the talk of the town. Love-struck men sent flowers to the jail, and newly emancipated women sent impassioned letters to the newspapers. Soon more than a dozen women preened and strutted on "Murderesses' Row" as they awaited trial, desperate for the same attention that was being lavished on Maurine Watkins's favorites. In the tradition of Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City and Karen Abbott's Sin in the Second City, Douglas Perry vividly captures Jazz Age Chicago and the sensationalized circus atmosphere that gave rise to the concept of the celebrity criminal. Fueled by rich period detail and enlivened by a cast of characters who seemed destined for the stage, The Girls of Murder City is crackling social history that simultaneously presents the freewheeling spirit of the age and its sober repercussions. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • [Perry's] savvy, flamboyant social history illuminates a dawning age of celebrity culture. Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 C | 2/19/2014

    " This book is "thoroughly grounded in documented facts" yet I felt like I was reading a fiction book!! I enjoyed this book!! Being a theater fan and love Chicago, I was impressed how much of the play/movie was factual. I also enjoyed learning about the women reporters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bedford Library | 2/16/2014

    " Profiles the lady killers that led journalist Maurine Watkins to pen the play Chicago, and inspired the recent film. More than a true crime book - this title draws a picture of Chicago in the 1920s. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nikki | 1/30/2014

    " I love the musical Chicago (but I've only seen the most recent movie), so I was glad to have randomly picked it up at the library. I felt like Perry took what I knew from the movie and made it real in several ways. I really enjoyed it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maryellen | 1/20/2014

    " This was an interesting book in terms of Chicago history and how women were seen in the 1920's. The writing was rather sedate yet read easy. Just enough interesting things to keep you reading but not gripping. For diehard Chicago history fans. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lucy | 1/17/2014

    " A very enjoyable book about the events that inspired real-life journalist Maurine Watkins to write the play Chicago, which became the Bob Fosse musical Chicago and the movie Chicago with Renee Zellweiger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah. Somewhat in the style of Karen Abbott. Perry keeps a spanking pace as he moves between the POVs of Watkins and the infamous "gun girls" who got away with murder in Jazz Age Chicago. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sheila | 1/12/2014

    " Chock-full of period detail and what seems like good research, but there were so many people to keep track of, and so few of them sympathetic, that I wasn't as involved in the book as I expected to be. A little too easy to put down, I think. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marguerite Czajka | 1/4/2014

    " I hadn't realized that the musical Chicago was based on true stories. It was amazing that the show was very close to reality. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 T | 1/4/2014

    " Not as juicy as the title alludes to, but nonetheless an interesting story of the history and sociology of the time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hope | 12/29/2013

    " I never realized how much the musical Chicago was based off real life "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andrea | 10/20/2013

    " Kinda boring :( "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andd Becker | 9/28/2013

    " This is a fascinating read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kirstensri | 7/13/2013

    " It was a fun read. I enjoyed the journalism and local Chicago history. At times, I was a bit skeptical of the certainty of some claims (It's not like they had the kind of forensic science we have now), but the food for thought was delicious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 5/10/2013

    " Interesting Book on Chicago in the 1920's. Well written and shows where the famed play "Chicago" came from. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracey | 4/4/2012

    " Chicago has such a gritty, sexy and, of course, sordid history about it. This book is a great read that conjures up all of the above. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristina | 6/15/2011

    " This book is the inspiration of the play Chicago. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kelly Rae | 5/11/2011

    " I read the few chapters and realized I wasn't really that interested. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Theresa | 5/7/2011

    " Very interesting. Amazing to hear how things were not too long ago. Definitely different times and thinking. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jessica | 4/24/2011

    " Ok book, not really a page turner but interesting to learn about the inspiration for Chicago.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda F | 4/19/2011

    " I was in the mood for historical non-fiction and this book caught my eye. I liked it but I would recommend it for someone who likes true crime and historical books and who really likes the musical/movie "chicago" because it is about the true story behind that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 4/12/2011

    " Interesting read about the inspiration behind Chicago. I know the murderesses of Cook County were suppose to be the real focus but the background and information about Chicago author Maureen Watkins was far more interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Staff Favorites | 3/24/2011

    " Quirky characters and a movie tie in. - Bonnie "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dianne | 3/19/2011

    " Good as far as it went. It felt a little scattered, and I really thought it was more about the media of the time rather than the individuals. I did like the wrap-up at the end. A fun read if you like this sort of thing. I do. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 T | 2/27/2011

    " Not as juicy as the title alludes to, but nonetheless an interesting story of the history and sociology of the time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Danielle | 2/24/2011

    " Entertaining and educational book about young Chicago women on trial for murder. The book chronicles how the real events turned into the famous play Chicago. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hope | 2/24/2011

    " I never realized how much the musical Chicago was based off real life "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 1/27/2011

    " Interesting Book on Chicago in the 1920's. Well written and shows where the famed play "Chicago" came from. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 12/28/2010

    " Although longer than needed and just as broadly written and the 1920's papers it critizises, an truly interesting story about the events the play Chicago was based on. "

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About the Author
Author Douglas PerryDouglas Perry is the author of The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago. Percy’s an award-winning writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The San Jose Mercury News, The Oregonian, Tennis, and many other publications. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
About the Narrator

Peter Berkrot, a forty-year veteran of stage and screen, was the director of narration for the Emmy-nominated The Truth about Cancer. He has voiced over three hundred audiobook titles, winning six Earphones Awards, a 2012 Audie Award nomination, and a 2016 Audie Award. He has appeared in Showtime’s Brotherhood and Loosies and played Angie D’Annunzio in Caddyshack.