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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Wanted

Last week marked the 26th anniversary of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s "10 Most Wanted List." The FBI debuted its gallery of most-wanted criminals in 1950 to publicize dangerous fugitives still at large.

According to infoplease.com, the names chosen for the list reflect changing crime trends through the decades. The early lists included bank robbers and car thieves. During the turbulent 1960s, the FBI’s top fugitives were charged with destruction of government property, sabotage and kidnapping. Today, the gallery includes terrorists.

Are you a fan of true crime novels? Truman Capote is credited with inventing the genre with “In Cold Blood” in 1965. However, 1920s muckraker Upton Sinclair published a fictionalized version of the notorious Sacco-Vanzetti case in 1928. Sacco and Vanetti were two anarchists accused of robbery and murder, and were executed in 1927. In “Boston: A Documentary Novel of the Sacco-Vanzetti Case,” Sinclair argued that it was politics rather than guilt that condemned them. A recently-discovered letter in Sinclair’s handwriting seems to confirm a theory that he learned otherwise. The lawyer for the two supposedly told Sinclair they had actually committed the crime. Still, Sinclair didn’t change the novel. When it’s fiction, do the facts have to be real? Check out:

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi.

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule. Also: Small Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and Murder.

Fatal Vision by Joe McGinniss.

Blind Eye: How the Medical Establishment Let a Doctor Get Away With Murder by James B. Stewart

At Mother’s Request: A True Story of Money, Murder and Betrayal by Jonathan Coleman.

The Night Stalker by Philip Carlo.

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