In her bestseller Room, writer Emma Donoghue imagined what life would be like for a little boy born into captivity, to a mother who'd been kidnapped and sexually assaulted.

And in her new novel, Frog Music, she's imagined a possible solution to a very real murder, one that took place in California in 1876. That crime was never solved. But Emma Donoghue has gone through historical records to write what might have happened.

    Rachel Urquhart's debut novel, The Visionist, is based in real life: the Visionists were young Shaker girls who began to suffer mysterious fits, thought to be in communication with the spirit world.

The Visionist tells the story of 15-year old Polly Kimball who kills her abusive father in a fire. Her mother leads them to seek shelter in The City of Hope, a nearby shaker Settlement. She is anointed a visionist upon her arrival, where she is - by turns - worshipped and questioned.

    In France at the end of the nineteenth century a great debate raged over the question of whether someone could be hypnotically compelled to commit a crime in violation of his or her moral convictions. When Toussaint-Augustin Gouffé entered 3, rue Tronson du Coudray, he expected nothing but a delightful assignation with the comely young Gabrielle Bompard. Instead, he was murdered—hanged!—by her and her companion Michel Eyraud. The body was then stuffed in a trunk and dumped on a riverbank near Lyon.

As the inquiry into the guilt or innocence of the woman the French tabloids dubbed the "Little Demon" escalated, the most respected minds in France debated whether Gabrielle Bompard was the pawn of her mesmerizing lover or simply a coldly calculating murderess.

Steven Levingston, the nonfiction editor of The Washington Post, writes about Gabrielle Bompard and hypnosis in his book, Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Époque Paris.

    Mary Higgins Clark, #1 international and New York Times bestselling author, has written thirty-three suspense novels; three collections of short stories; a historical novel, Mount Vernon Love Story; two children’s books, including The Magical Christmas Horse; and a memoir, Kitchen Privileges.

In her latest novel, I've Got You Under My Skin, Laurie Moran’s husband was brutally murdered and only three-year-old Timmy saw the face of his father’s killer. Five years later his piercing blue eyes still haunt Timmy’s dreams. Laurie is haunted by more—the killer’s threat to her son as he fled the scene: “Tell your mother she’s next, then it’s your turn . . .”

    New York City, 1964 - a young woman is stabbed to death on her front stoop—a murder the New York Times called “a frozen moment of dramatic, disturbing social change.” The victim, Catherine “Kitty” Genovese, became an urban martyr, butchered by a sociopathic killer in plain sight of thirty-eight neighbors who “didn’t want to get involved.” Her sensational case provoked an anxious outcry and launched a sociological theory known as the “Bystander Effect.”

Now, on the fiftieth anniversary of her murder, author and journalist, Kevin Cook, presents the real Kitty Genovese and a new look at her murder case.

3/5/14 Panel

Mar 5, 2014

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, newsman Ray Graf and University at Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao.

License Program
Cuomo V. De Blasio
Murder Trial


    Thriller writer Lisa Gardner is back with her 21st novel and the eighth crime book featuring Detective DD Warren.

Her latest, Fear Nothing, focuses on two sisters – one a successful therapist, Doctor Adeline Glen, who suffers from congenital analgesia (she can’t feel pain), the other, Shana Day, a serial killer serving time in prison for multiple murders.

As daughters of mass murderer Harry Day, they now have to join forces to help DD catch a predator copying their late father’s modus operandi.

  Susannah Sheffer, Project Director at Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights, will be speaking tonight at SUNY Albany’s School of Criminal Justice about her new book: Fighting for Their Lives: Inside the Experience of Capital Defense Attorneys.

The book tackles such questions as: How do attorneys who represent clients facing the death penalty cope with the stress and trauma of their work? Through conversations with twenty of the most experienced and dedicated post-conviction capital defenders in the United States.

What it is like for these capital defenders in their last visits or phone calls with clients who are about to be taken to the execution chamber? Or the next mornings, in their lives with their families, in their dreams and flashbacks and moments alone in the car?

Today’s event is at 5:30 at Husted Hall Amphitheatre.

The Jeffrey MacDonald case is one of the most horrifying—and controversial—murder cases of its time, with chilling echoes of the Manson Family’s “Helter Skelter” killings: a handsome, Ivy League–educated Green Beret Army doctor accused of brutally stabbing and clubbing to death his pregnant wife and two young daughters in the middle of the night. MacDonald was eventually convicted and is serving three consecutive life sentences.

Perhaps no one is better qualified to address these questions than Joe McGinniss, who was first drawn into the story in 1979, when he began work on what became the definitive account of the case, Fatal Vision.

We welcome David Talbot and speak with him about his book, Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love, which tells the story of San Francisco between 1967 and 1982.