Review: The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers who Inspired Chicago

The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers who Inspired Chicago
The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers who Inspired Chicago by Douglas Perry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I remember when the movie “Chicago” came out, but I had no idea it was based on a true story. In 1924 Chicago, there seemed to be a sudden glut of murderesses in the Cook County jail, befuddling juries composed entirely of men. Young woman reporters, whether “sob sisters” or hard-boiled gals walking the crime beat, tried their luck at getting close to the murderesses and their families to land an all-important scoop.

One of these “girl reporters,” Maurine Watkins, was a shy girl from a good Christian home who’d thrown over her classical studies for a chance at life in the big city. Watkins worked her way up from the fashion and society beat with her incisive, biting stories designed to vilify the young female murderers and bring attention to their crimes. After a pair of high-profile acquittals, Watkins wrote “Chicago” to satirize the celebrity-wild times, and it was a success she could never again attain.

This was a light, interesting read, and much recommended to anyone who enjoyed “Chicago” or is interested in the 1920s.

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