Title: Unsolved!Unsolved I
Author: George Sullivan
Pages: 103
Recommended Ages: 13 & up
Star Rating: ★★★★

Remember Unsolved II!? Same author, same series.

The Cases.

Death of a Bully. One July morning in 1981, in the town of Skidmore Missouri, a man was shot and killed. The man? Ken Rex, the town bully. The murderer? No one knows – and yet everyone knew, for Rex was shot in front of sixty witnesses. To this day, none has spoken the name of the killer.

Whatever Happened to Etan Patz? For weeks, six year old Etan Patz had begged his mother for permission to walk the two blocks to his bus stop alone. On May 25, 1979, she finally relented, watching his bobbing figure as he walked towards the intersection. It was the last time she would ever see him – he disappeared without a trace.

The Moorgate Crash. Leslie Newton was considered to be an upright, conscientious train driver by all who worked with him. He had plenty of experience pulling trains into stations. And that is why the crashing of his train into London’s Moorgate Station remains such a mystery. For not only was it the worst crash in the history of the London subway system, but it seems impossible that it was an accident…

Who Shot Robert Kennedy? Many know of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, United States President. Far fewer have heard of the equally tragic and equally mysterious assassination of his brother, Robert.

Movieland Mystery. Thelma Todd was one of Hollywood’s star actresses at the time of her death in 1935. It was true that she had unpleasant relationships with a few people – most noticeably her ex-husband – but she did not seem the type to have enemies. Then why was she found slumped over in her car, poisoned by carbon monoxide? Would this seemingly happy woman have committed suicide? Or was she murdered?

Nightmare. Valerie Percy was a striking girl from a striking family – she personally was both beautiful and well-loved, and her father’s political campaign had launched both him and his family into the state’s spotlight. So, when she was brutally attacked and killed in her own room one night in 1956, the scope of motives – and suspects – was wide.

The Dingo Mystery. The thought that a mother would kill her own child is horrible – repulsive. Yet that is what many believed Lindy Chamberlain to have done. Her own story? That her child had been seized by a dingo while her family was out camping. It seemed a ridiculous story, yet none could ever prove otherwise.

Collision in the Sky. Fred Riley could not believe his eyes. Just a moment before, he had seen two airplanes flying above in the Arizona sky. But now, the two shapes have crashed into one burning mass. How could it have happened that two planes, equipped with modern instrumentation could have thus collided?

Zodiac. It’s what he called himself – Zodiac. Though at first he didn’t take credit for his murders, later as his confidence grew, he murdered more and freely wrote of it to newspaper editors and psychologists. He killed, and killed again. And he never was caught…

Discussion.

How is it possible? Detective stories have made it easy to fall into the notion that every crime is solveable – one has only to look for the right clues, to listen to insignificant details, to keep at the case until finally the criminal cannot help but give himself away. A book like Unsolved leaves its readers questioning how a crime could possibly not follow this age old formula – how it could possibly remain “unsolved”. But they did. And they do. And every day, crimes are committed, some of which will never be solved. It’s an eerie thought.

Because several of the cases are murders, it is said that so and so was stabbed or such and such was shot, but no other details are really given concerning the wounds or their infliction. Things like traces of blood are discussed. In the “Dingo” case, we are told that a dingo “emerged from the tent, its head low, shaking something vigorously.” [pg. 69] Not really detailed, but also not a nice thought, as that “something” was a baby.

The last case concerns the idea of serial murderers, and includes excerpts from Zodiac’s letters. It is always a bit disturbing to hear the criminal mind express itself.

It is mentioned in the Etan Patz case that several psychics called, offering information which the Patz family accepted as possibilities, but which proved untrue.

Conclusion. A fascinating companion read to Unsolved II and True Crimes and How They Were Solved.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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