Blood & Ivy by Paul Collins

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Blood & Ivy:

Murrrrrderrrrrr at Haaaaaaavaaaaad.

Quick synopsis:

The story of a murdered Harvard alum in 1849.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

Most people don’t realize this, but surgeons often had a very hard time practicing their craft. Dead bodies for study were hard to come across and aspiring doctors often took to grave robbing.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

Harvard paid professors really badly. Well, maybe that is still true. I don’t know. Back then, they definitely did, though.

My Take on Blood & Ivy:

Even the fanciest schools in the country have their deep, dark secrets. Harvard is no exception.

In 1849, a very rich Harvard alum went missing. Since it seems all the rich people were Harvard alumni, the entire city of Boston became interested in what happened.

I don’t want to get too much into detail because while it is not hard to decipher who did it early on, there is some utility in now having all the information up front. Collins is not so much writing a mystery but chronicling the crime which sent Boston into an uproar. There is a lot to chronicle as the investigation was very thorough and the killer did his/her best to cover it up.

Collins takes you through the whole story chronologically and makes sure to mention all the very important Harvard men you’ve heard about in English class. It’s a breezy read and has a couple of surprising twists. This could be a good first book for someone trying out historical true crime.


A great book if you like historical true crime. It is not a whodunnit but is a great chronicle of the crime and an easy read. Buy it here!

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Blood & Ivy by Paul Collins