Cover image for The Borden tragedy : a memoir of the infamous double murder at Fall River, Mass., 1892
The Borden tragedy : a memoir of the infamous double murder at Fall River, Mass., 1892
Geary, Rick.
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Publication Information:
New York : NBM, [1997]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : chiefly illustrations, 23 cm.
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POP FICTION Graphic Novel Central Library
POP FICTION Graphic Novel Graphic Novels

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'Geary returns with another typically superlative work... Artfully precise reconstruction... A Delight!' - Publisher's Weekly starred review. The infamous story of the Lizzy Borden murders reproduced here in Geary's distinctive style.

Author Notes

An award-winning cartoonist and illustrator, Rick Geary has worked for Marvel Entertainment Group, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and Heavy Metal , and has contributed to National Lampoon and The New York Times Book Review .

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

NBM extends its impressive catalog of adult graphic novels with a nonfiction title on one of the most famous crimes in American history and a fine French example of just how sophisticated the fictional graphic novel can be. The tragedy of Geary's title is, of course, the still mysterious 1892 ax-murders of Andrew and Abby Borden, for which Andrew's daughter Lizzie (Abby was Lizzie's stepmother) was tried and acquitted. The comics medium arguably communicates the facts more forcefully and memorably than any of the many other works about the crimes. Geary's black-and-white line art convincingly renders the faces and forms of 1890s people, and it depicts the Borden house (which still stands) and its surroundings more faithfully and from many more angles than a documentary film could. The conciseness of comics narration cuts away all but the essentials, thereby beating longer verbal treatments soundly at inculcating a basic understanding of the crimes and their context. This is the primer on a perpetually fascinating, unsolved mystery. Juillard's cinematically realized effort is the kind of mildly fatalistic romantic melodrama that the 1950s French new wave directors, later in their careers, excelled at making into eminently enjoyable fare for grown-ups. Louise Lemoine has two gentlemen friends who turn out to be acquainted and, eventually, to bitterly resent one another's fascination with the really quite fetching Louise, whom we, like they, first glimpse nude and toweling her hair in her curtainless Paris apartment. The men's enmity is concluded by murder, of which the remaining one seems not guilty. "Life goes on" is the last line in a story that affords the sort of worldly wise yet sadly knowing pleasure those words can suggest, thanks to Juillard's coloration (pastels conjuring but seldom including the famous Parisian gray), multiple viewpoints (Juillard neatly juxtaposes those possible for his characters and those of a Godlike, omniscient narrator), and crisp, realistic drawing style. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Comics artist Geary returns with another typically superlative work, the third in his series, A Treasury of Victorian Murder. As in his Jack the Ripper, Geary uses a fictional narrator to present a stylish, painstakingly researched treatment of the gruesome 1892 ax-murders of Abby and Andrew Borden in Falls River, Mass., and of the investigation, trial, and public and media spectacle that followed. The unsolved Borden murders have passed into folklore ("Lizzie Borden took an ax, gave her mother forty whacks") and the question of Lizzie's guilt (she was acquitted but remained under suspicion for the rest of her life) remains unanswered in Geary's book. It's Geary's artfully precise reconstruction of turn-of-the-century Falls River that makes his work so haunting, and such a delight. Geary carefully re-creates the layout of the town (complete with maps); the history, quirks and familial resentments of the prominent Borden family; and, of course, the bloody hatchet murders themselves, complete with minute details of the police investigation and a look at the forensic techniques of the time. His marvelous black-and-white drawings alternate a heavy, sensuous line with more delicate linear accents, deftly capturing the architecture, clothing, objects and everyday details of small-town life in the 1890s. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

YA‘A true-crime title, adapted from an authenticated but currently anonymous memoir written by someone who was at Fall River at the time of the Borden murders. The dramatic and mystery-shrouded story of Mr. and Mrs. Borden's deaths by hatchet during a time frame that would seem to indicate 30-year-old Lizzie as the only possible murderer and of the contradictory physical evidence that would seem to exonerate that same suspect is presented frame by frame, with very few balloons attributing specific words to any of those involved. The drawing style suits the subject neatly, extending the Victorian setting into mood as well: Lizbeth Borden is depicted as pudgy and sour-faced, the Bordens' maid looks as pinched and sickened as she had reason to feel, Fall River's citizenry scowl up from the pages as clearly defined individuals. Geary brings to this work years of experience creating fictional and documentary comics for books and periodicals, including the National Lampoon. While the parallel between Lizzie Borden and O.J. Simpson, drawn on the back cover of the book, seems simplistic, it may serve as an appropriate hook for readers unaccustomed to contemplating events outside their own worlds. Because Geary has fit so many details of the case's facts and ambiguities into just over 50 heavily illustrated pages, this should be an instant hit in high interest/low reading collections.‘Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.