Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Jewelry and valuables were left in plain sight, bodies were piled together, faces covered with cloth. Some of these cases, like the infamous Villasca, Iowa, murders, received national attention. But few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station.
When celebrated baseball statistician and true crime expert Bill James first learned about these horrors, he began to investigate others that might fit the same pattern. Applying the same know-how he brings to his legendary baseball analysis, he empirically determined which crimes were committed by the same person. Then after sifting through thousands of local newspapers, court transcripts, and public records, he and his daughter Rachel made an astonishing discovery: they learned the true identity of this monstrous criminal. In turn, they uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in America.
Riveting and immersive, with writing as sharp as the cold side of an axe, The Man from the Train paints a vivid, psychologically perceptive portrait of America at the dawn of the twentieth century, when crime was regarded as a local problem, and opportunistic private detectives exploited a dysfunctional judicial system. James shows how these cultural factors enabled such an unspeakable series of crimes to occur, and his groundbreaking approach to true crime will convince skeptics, amaze aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history.
Booklist Starred Review
This sharply satirical novel concerns a battle royal between two academic institutions and their principals. England, 1987. It’s all-out war. Two universities in the same city each aim to destroy the other and take over one another’s buildings, students and – above all – bank balance. At a time of austerity in public life and huge government cuts, the situation has become desperate and the respective university principals are prepared to fight very dirty indeed. Dr Lawford Chute of the revered Sedge University wants to expand, expand, expand, while the government is telling him to cut, cut, cut. But Dr Victor Tane of Charter Mill employs more covert methods to ensure his institution comes out on top. Who will win these ferocious academic fights and be the model for the statue in the modern-day university grounds: the ultimate proof of posterity for which both principals are battling?
This hilariously witty and highly topical satire on the comic absurdities and ruthless politics involved among Britain’s elite academic institutions will appeal to fans of Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse Blue.
Britain, 1956. A young actress seemingly tries to commit suicide over a tangled love affair, but is taken to hospital and her life saved. The story is just the sort of thing that journalist Ian Charteris likes to cover: a poignant mix of near tragedy, possible thwarted romance, and glamour, needing sensitive but – of course – dramatic treatment. It should be a routine assignment, a welcome assignment. It would be, if it wasn’t for the identity of the young woman. She may – just may – be Ian’s sister.
The unwelcome reminder of the past drags Ian back into memories of places and events he’d rather forget. As far as Ian is concerned, the past is a foreign country. And not just foreign. Fundamentally and cantankerously hostile. Vengeful, war-torn, dangerous.
It is impossible to escape the past; the noose is already around Ian’s neck, and every step he takes it tightens . . . And this is not the only noose.
“I found I had a flair for tag-along, street level stealth. It thrilled me. It killed me. Do you mind if I tell you how?”
Thomas Wells Hart drifted into a dodgy career as a private investigator and grew clever at tailing suspects and all the other tricks of the game. Not quite clever enough, however. Coming across Hart’s shot-up body, Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur and Assistant Chief Constable Des Iles have to work out their own explanation as to how he came to be executed behind the wheel of a Ford Focus in a quiet suburban street.
The trail will lead them through illegal art trading, big-bucks money laundering – and more murder. As ever, Iles suspects Harpur is hiding essential facts from him. As ever, Harpur is hiding essential facts from his boss. Will the mismatched pair manage to close the case?
Booklist Starred Review
When a major drugs dealer seeks vengeance for the death of his family, policemen Harpur and Iles must do all they can to prevent a bloodbath
Following the murder of his wife and son, tycoon drugs dealer Mansel Shale is determined to get vengeance – and he wants another drugs baron, Ralph Ember, to help him. Having heard of the movie Strangers on a Train, in which two men agree to undertake each other’s murders as a way of preventing detection, Shale suggests he and Ralph should have a similar arrangement – and Ralph is in no position to refuse.
When he learns of the plan, Assistant Chief Constable Desmond Iles fears that if things go wrong, the hard-won peace he and Harpur have established in the city will be seriously threatened. The two top policemen find they have their work cut out to limit the damage and restore tranquillity.
George Lepage, the new Director of the Hulliborn Regional Museum and Gallery, has great hopes that his tenure in the post will be short and profitable. He has visions of early retirement, and perhaps – like his predecessor, and his predecessor’s predecessor – a knighthood.
But circumstances do their best to snatch his happy dreams away from him. First a deranged former staff member causes a riot in the Folk Department, and then three recently purchased, ruinously expensive paintings of dubious authenticity are stolen, putting the museum’s security – and judgement – into question. The fate of the upcoming Japanese Ancient Surgical Skills exhibition, and its astonishing collection of tonsil excision implements, hangs dangerously in the balance.
And over everything hangs the grim specter of the former Director, “Flounce” Butler-Minton, whose body may be most definitely dead but whose legacy lives on. And with every day that passes, the rumours of what Flounce did behind the Iron Curtain – and how the haversack straps, the whippet and the legendary Mrs Cray were involved – grow, threatening to erupt into a scandal that may cost the museum, and Lepage himself, everything . . .
NEWSWEEK once called him "The guru of baseball," and Bill James, for nearly forty years, has led the vanguard of how we measure the game. From Sabermetrics to his Baseball Abstracts, James has influenced even the casual fan all the way up to the top brass. Somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, however, is the manager, and Bill James has penned a guide on some of the most innovative and renowned men to ever hold that position.
Some of the game's greatest managers have been Hall-of-Fame players who put down a bat and picked up a lineup card: Frank Robinson, Mel Ott, Joe Cronin, Tris Speaker, Rogers Hornsby. Others have achieved greatness from their ability to assemble legendary teams: Billy Martin, Tommy Lasorda, Connie Mack, Joe McCarthy, Dick Williams, Leo Durocher. Here, Bill James explores the history of the manager, and its evolution from 1870-1990, in a decade-by-decade chronicle, examining the successes, the failures, and what baseball fans can learn from both.
THE BILL JAMES GUIDE TO BASEBALL MANAGERS is a thought-provoking, entertaining, and seminal guide to a vital part of the national pastime, written by one of its most groundbreaking iconoclasts.
Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur feels a sort of warmth towards Jack Lamb, a brilliantly prosperous but profoundly dodgy fine arts dealer. Lamb is the greatest informant Harpur has ever dealt with – might be the greatest informant any police officer has ever dealt with – and although Jack ended this arrangement some time ago, Harpur still feels indebted to him.
Lamb’s posh manor house is stuffed with expensive paintings, ripe for the pinching . . . and small-time thief George Dinnick and his crew intend to relieve him of a few. But their plans are complicated by local big-time crook Ralph Ember, who is on the lookout for some art to elevate his gentleman’s club, The Monty; and who else would he visit to procure this art but Jack Lamb? Add to the mix odd-job man and stolen-art procurer Basil Gordon Loam – aka Enzyme – who Harpur and Iles would very much like to see locked up, and things start to get complicated indeed.
There are questions that remain to be answered – so when the home office decides to reopen the case, it is Harpur and Iles to whom the investigation is once more handed.
Like the original, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is really several books in one. The Game provides a century's worth of American baseball history, told one decade at a time, with energetic facts and figures about How, Where, and by Whom the game was played. In The Players, you'll find listings of the top 100 players at each position in the major leagues, along with James's signature stats-based ratings method called “Win Shares,” a way of quantifying individual performance and calculating the offensive and defensive contributions of catchers, pitchers, infielders, and outfielders. And there's more: the Reference section covers Win Shares for each season and each player, and even offers a Win Share team comparison. A must-have for baseball fans and historians alike, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is as essential, entertaining, and enlightening as the sport itself.
A bold new Web paradigm in-the-making, desktop hosting empowers virtually anyone to control Web communications from their personal computer. The fully-automated communication services offered by desktop hosting provide companies with a powerful new tool to help drive sales, increase customer satisfaction, and guarantee 24/7 availability. Written by a principal at one of the major players defining the desktop hosting market, this book supplies technical and non-technical readers with a practical introduction to an exciting new technology. Readers learn how to use desktop hosting tools and get valuable pointers on how to implement an array of desktop hosting solutions.
CD-ROM contains full, unrestricted versions of WebClerk and CommerceExpert, along with 150 QuickTime training clips.
Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur and his boss, Assistant Chief Constable Desmond Iles, worry about the safety of one of the big-time crooks on their ground, Ralph Ember, sometimes known as Panicking Ralph. Yes, Ralph is a villain, but he’s a local villain, and Harpur and Iles feel a kind of bizarre affection for him. And in any case, Ralph helps Iles keep the city reasonably peaceful. But now some awkward repercussions from Ralph’s lawless past seem to bring danger.
Ralph is aware of this new peril and has installed a bulletproof steel barrier to protect himself in the club he owns – but will this be enough to keep him safe? Harpur thinks not. Surely the upcoming party at the club will provide the perfect moment for a gunman to do for Ralph? The only way Harpur can be sure of protecting Ralph is to attend the party himself . . .
A "dictionary" describing virtually every known pitch
The origins and development of baseball's most important pitches
Top ten lists: best fastballs, best spitballs, and everything in between
Biographies of some of the great pitchers who have been overlooked
More knuckleballers and submariners than you ever thought existed
An open debate concerning pitcher abuse and durability
A formula for predicting the Cy Young Award winner
Something fresh and new: Bill James' "Pitcher Codes"
The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers is about understanding pitchers, and baseball's action always starts with the pitchers. It's also about entertaining debates and having a great deal of fun with the history of a game that obsesses so many.
Celebrated writer and contrarian Bill James has voraciously read true crime throughout his life and has been interested in writing a book on the topic for decades. Now, with Popular Crime, James takes readers on an epic journey from Lizzie Borden to the Lindbergh baby, from the Black Dahlia to O. J. Simpson, explaining how crimes have been committed, investigated, prosecuted and written about, and how that has profoundly influenced our culture over the last few centuries— even if we haven’t always taken notice.
Exploring such phenomena as serial murder, the fluctuation of crime rates, the value of evidence, radicalism and crime, prison reform and the hidden ways in which crimes have shaped, or reflected, our society, James chronicles murder and misdeeds from the 1600s to the present day. James pays particular attention to crimes that were sensations during their time but have faded into obscurity, as well as still-famous cases, some that have never been solved, including the Lindbergh kidnapping, the Boston Strangler and JonBenet Ramsey. Satisfyingly sprawling and tremendously entertaining, Popular Crime is a professed amateur’s powerful examination of the incredible impact crime stories have on our society, culture and history.