Blood & Ivy by Paul Collins

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline: 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.

My Take: 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.

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.

Verdict: 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.

If You Liked This Try:

  • Simon Baatz, The Girl in the Velvet Swing
  • Skip Hollandsworth, The Midnight Assassin
  • Gregg Olsen, Starvation Heights
  • Douglas Starr, The Killer of Little Shepherds
  • Hallie Rubenhold, The Five
  • J. Robinson, Mystery on the Isle of Shoals
  • Miriam Davis, The Axeman of New Orleans
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Blood & Ivy by Paul Collins
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