Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
He pointed to the trunks and Marion would always remember this. His right arm around her neck, hand grooved under her chin like a vise, and left arm pointing, like God himself, down to Earth, down to Adam, down to the black trunks on the unimpeachable floor.
I am about three-quarters of the way through Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott, and once again I’m impressed by her style. This sort of sensational tale based around true crime isn’t my usual fare, but Abbott is a master at period details and attitudes that deepen the story. Bury Me Deep is based on the true story of Winnie Ruth Judd, the “Trunk Murderess,” who moved with her husband to Phoenix in 1930 to help relieve her consumption (tuberculosis). Her husband, unable to find work in Phoenix, went to Los Angeles to find employment. In his absence, Judd developed a friendship with two women who were her neighbors. She also became involved with a man, a lumber-yard owner who, although married himself, ran in fast circles, providing booze and drugs for wild parties the women would host. Tension developed between the three women over time, and at some point, Judd shot and killed the two women in what she claimed was self-defense. She packed the two bodies (one dismembered) into two trunks and took them on a train to Los Angeles, where a porter was overcome by the smell of the trunks. Judd was asked to open the trunks, and she explained she had to get the key from her husband and disappeared. She was arrested four days later in Los Angeles and escorted back to Phoenix, where she stood trial and was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of one of the women. Eventually the sentence was overturned, and she was placed in a state mental institution, from which she escaped seven times. Phoenix residents used to scare their naughty children by telling them that Winne Ruth Judd would come for them if they didn’t behave.