Treasure of Victorian Murder: Saga of the Bloody Benders

Treasure of Victorian Murder: Saga of the Bloody Benders

by Rick Geary

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Geary's ninth volume in his violent but informative and well-researched series covers the little known tale of the so-called Bloody Benders, a mysterious family of possibly German immigrants who set up a small grocery/hotel catering to travelers along the Osage Trail in southern Kansas in 1870. The townspeople figure out pretty quick that the Benders are an odd lot (the ethereally beautiful daughter holds séances and claims to be a healer, while the ape-like father barely speaks, and the son seems simpleminded). It takes them quite a bit longer to glom on to the fact that too many travelers, especially those with money, are disappearing near the Benders' place. By the time the locals catch on, the Benders have fled, leaving a multitude of gruesome clues behind. Because much about the Benders remains unknown, the story easily lends itself to fantasy and speculation, and Geary recounts theories about who they really were and what happened to them, presented in a quite credible manner, all accompanied by his usual exquisite art. Geary's riveting writing has a journalistic, matter-of-fact tone, making it quite palatable to adult audiences; though the subject matter may make some school librarians think twice. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up
The Bender clan-nearly silent mother, German-speaking father, voluble adult son, and flirtatious adult daughter-arrives in Kansas in the early 1870s. On the prairie, along the Osage Trail that travelers take from northeast to central south in their new state, the family builds a combination dwelling, inn, and grocery. It's just a small frame house really, with family quarters curtained off from the larger area of the building where the public stops in for provisions, a meal, or perhaps a night's rest. There's a basement underneath, with a large, flat stone serving as its floor. Travelers in the vicinity are disappearing, but for a long time no one realizes it. As ever, Geary's details are well researched and presented in suspenseful, Victorian-like perspective, moody with minimalist detail. Period social concepts are folded into the storytelling, including the use of the term "savages" by a visiting missionary who manages to escape alive when he senses movement behind the curtain partition-the movement of Mr. Bender passing, carrying a small sledgehammer. True-crime fans will enjoy this book and history teachers may find inspiration for joining research to compelling storytelling.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

N B M Publishing Company
Publication date:
A Treasury of Victorian Murder Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)

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