The Death of Old Man Rice
A True Story of Criminal Justice in America
AUTHOR: Friedland, Martin L.
PUBLISHER: New York University Press
Also available at Amazon.com
The Story of One of the Most Remarkable Trials in All History! Sensational trials--the Menendez brothers, the Rodney King case, the Preppie Murder--are not unique to the age of television. The year 1900 saw one of the most dramatic criminal trials in American history, described by one newspaper at the time as America's most remarkable murder case.
When William Marsh Rice, the founder of Rice University, was found dead in the New York City quarters he shared with his only servant, suspicion immediately fell on Albert Patrick, a young lawyer. Rice, whose fortune was pledged to Rice Institute (later Rice University), had, it seemed, been killed by chloroform poisoning and his will forged to give Patrick his vast estate. Patrick was immediately arrested and, in a spectacular trial, tried for first-degree murder, a crime then punishable by execution.
In this combination murder mystery and murder history, Martin Friedland recounts the events leading up to the trial and the case as it played itself out in court. Skillfully guiding the reader through the trial and its outcome, Friedland sheds new light on the events, casting doubt on what, at first glance, seems an ironclad case.
Provocatively illustrated with over 60 photographs that capture the circumstances of the trial and the mood of New York City at the turn of the century, The Death of Old Man Rice is not only a gripping tale of murder and intrigue, but a timely window onto many aspects of criminal justice in America. Touching on issues of great contemporary relevance-- such as the influence of the popular press; the purchase of expert witnesses; the problems of multiple appeals; the inadequacy of penal institutions; and the advantages of wealth--Friedland combines scholarship with suspense in his trademark who done it style.
A murder mystery, a historical study, and a fascinating window into the world of forensic science, The Death of Old Man Rice is that rare book that can engage any reader.
PUBLICATION DATE: 9/1/1994
CATEGORY: Biography & Autobiography, Law, True Crime