Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest

Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest

by Gregg Olsen
4.0 96

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Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest by Gregg Olsen

In this true story—a haunting saga of medical murder set in an era of steamships and gaslights—Gregg Olsen reveals one of the most unusual and disturbing criminal cases in American history.

In 1911 two wealthy British heiresses, Claire and Dora Williamson, arrived at a sanitorium in the forests of the Pacific Northwest to undergo the revolutionary “fasting treatment” of Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard. It was supposed to be a holiday for the two sisters, but within a month of arriving at what the locals called Starvation Heights, the women underwent brutal treatments and were emaciated shadows of their former selves.

Claire and Dora were not the first victims of Linda Hazzard, a quack doctor of extraordinary evil and greed. But as their jewelry disappeared and forged bank drafts began transferring their wealth to Hazzard’s accounts, the sisters came to learn that Hazzard would stop at nothing short of murder to achieve her ambitions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307238399
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 05/03/2005
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 8,879
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Gregg Olsen is the author of several works of nonfiction and fiction, including the New York Times bestseller Abandoned Prayers. A journalist and investigative author for more than two decades, Olsen has received numerous awards and much critical acclaim for his writing. The Seattle native now lives in rural Washington state with his wife, twin daughters, cat, and six chickens.

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Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 96 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is utterly fascinating. And while I think this phrase is often overused, I simply could not put this book down. When I was away from it, I was constantly thinking about when I would have time to read it again, and at the same time, not wanting it to end. The journalistic detail in this book is second to none. The reader is completely transported back in time--and into the heart of a dark story. It is hard to believe this story is true, but it makes reading it all the more exciting and fascinating. While some purists shy away from 'true crime', I enjoy it--but I am extremely selective in what I read. The writing must be as good as the story. 'Starvation Heights' does not dissapoint in this area. This is investigative reporting and writing at it's best. Fans of true crime will be thrilled to read such a well written account, and those who don't typically read true crime will find this story reads like a novel. I cannot recommend this book enough, and I guarantee that for whatever reason you decide to read it, you will NOT be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader, and I enjoyed this book more than any other I can recall in recent history. Mr. Olsen does a fantastic job of walking us through this compelling, albeit at times difficult, story. This case proves that truth really IS stranger than fiction. It is obvious that the author put a lot of work into this and I do not think anyone who picks up a copy of Starvation Heights will be disappointed.
Gibletmom More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much even with the horrid subject matter. Well written and something I had not known about. Well researched.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great read, I have read several of his books now and I think he is a truly gifted author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down, it really held my attention. To think it was a true story is amazing. The only thing that would have made it better would be for it to have pictures. I kept thinking they would be at the end. It really should have had some. The author even noted he had got a copy of the doctor's business card; I would like to have seen it. Otherwise, extremely good book. At the end I thought, "Wow".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down. Hard to imagine such inhumanity to man but also hard to fathom people actually acceping this "cure". This so called doctor could and should have been stopped sooner. Horrible way to die.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beutifully researched and completly enthralling. When you begin this book be prepaired to never want to put it down. What captures your intress the most is how bewitching. Dr.Hazzard was,you can sense her still just buy reading this book. She totally beleived she was helping people, but I believe if the people would have looked more at Mr. Hazzard they would have been able to tell she was helping herself to their money. The sad thing is this kind of con is still going on today...Makes you really wonder if money is worth its dollars and sence?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gregg Olsen does a fantastic job of digging into facts and transforming them into an easy page-turning story. It is remarkable how far people will go to have their health. Although this story was set in 1911, I am sure there are people worldwide that would--today--put thier lives into the hands of the 'fasting specialist,' Dr. Hazzard. Read this story of greed and serial killing... no one else may call the 'doctor' a serial killer, but she fits the profile. Dora and Claire Williamson lived a horrifying story, and Mr. Olsen tells it well; buy this book!
BrenHI More than 1 year ago
It took me a bit to read the book, once i got into it i couldnt put it down.. Cant wait to read more of Gregg Olsons work...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of true crime, but I am picky, I want the writing to be as good as the story. This book will please true crime lovers as well as those who may not normally enjoy it. It is fascinating, reads like a novel, and is all the more interesting because it is true. The writing is superb, the reader is transported back to the early 1900's completely. You will NOT be disappointed with this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and I want to read more works written by Gregg Olsen. The way he writes makes me feel like I am living back in the 1900's. Only the very talented authors can make that happen for me.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Great true story even better when you live in the area where it happened.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wasn't sure I would like this when I realized the highlighted crimes were committed in 1910! But it is so worth sticking with it. Alternative medical practitioners still are struggling today with acceptance and that gives this story an added level of interest. I am a huge fan of Gregg Olsen and this book did not disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Appalling how this monster could call herself a doctor! Engrossing but heartbreaking. Well worth it
bluelu More than 1 year ago
What a fascinating story & the writer captivated me though i was horrified by the evil, pain & sadistic treatment which was constantly inflicted upon these naive, trusting but gullible women & others too at the Starvation Heights...i am still (don't ask why) constantly amazed at what ghastly atroucaties that the higher authorities can without compuction easily turn head & just look the other way. allowing persons under the guise of a medical license torturing, starving & basically keeping them prinsoner in Olalla, as they were all so weak most could hardly drag themselves out of their cot. the book is up there w/my best books read!! i could not put it down as Gregg Olsen had me so wrapped up in the story, i was there & i was angry ... when i read a great book as this, i have my pen in hand & was writing my thoughts angry & mad at Dr Hazzard -- such a perfect vision of the devil incarnate, of EVIL... & i underlined parts that i found to be so ungodly & upsetting that i could not believe my own eyes... get this book... but if you are afraid of the dark, or live way out all alone... maybe you may think twice.. but then again... give it a try. i am certain you'll be glad you did. exciting & riviting every minute--
Books4lifeMK More than 1 year ago
I was surprised at the horrible things that could be done to people under the guise of medicine and it was not that long ago.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My parents own property on the Orchard Ave. in Washington state mentioned in this true story. I was living on property the infamous doctor likely owned after deceiving then killing her own neighbors in the early 1900's. While living in a house just down the street, I read the history of that area and it was incredible. I could visualize many of the descriptions and when traveling through the area saw old graveyards where victims of this horrific time likely rested. This is one of the best books for anyone interested in true crime.
WorldReader1111 More than 1 year ago
I liked this book, mostly. In my opinion, 'Starvation Heights' is readable, but somewhat flawed. Namely, large sections of the book have been heavily dramatized by the author, as well as injected with his own opinions, conclusions, and, at times, biases. As a result, the facts are sometimes obscured by this "coloring" on the author's part, such that the text is devalued as an objective, trustworthy document (though, it does gain entertainment value from this treatment, which, presumably, was the author's motivation). For some readers, this is not a problem; however, if you desire a purely neutral, "unadulterated" presentation of the facts, then 'Starvation Heights' is not that kind of book. The consequences of this type of less-than-objective writing style are best exemplified by an assumption that permeates the text: that Dr. Hazzard's crimes automatically debunked therapeutic fasting as an effective treatment for some ailments. Specifically, it is never considered that, perhaps, she was a murderer who simply employed a legitimate practice to compromise her victims (a scenario which is actually suggested by some evidence appearing at the very end of the book, when it is revealed that several of her victims possessed lethal amounts of alum in their stomachs, as to be the ultimate cause of death, rather than fasting and the like). Such reasoning is like condemning all doctors who give painkillers to their patients, because some doctor, somewhere, used those drugs to intentionally overdose a patient and take their money -- a fallacy, as it were. With this in mind, the question must be asked: what if the blame lay solely on Dr. Hazzard and her murderous intentions, with medical fasting judged guilty by association? However, literary and logical shortcomings aside, the book remains substantial and informative, retaining enough factual integrity to reconstruct the basic thrust of the Hazzard case. If nothing else, we are offered a powerful historical lesson: that, in the past as much as the present, judicial trials have become charades of public opinion, appearances, and self-advancement of various kinds, rather than any sort of pursuit of truth and justice. Additionally, the story provides much in the way of psychological study, and that of mankind in general. Personally, I liked the descriptions of turn-of-the-century Washington and its culture. All in all, there's much to be learned from 'Starvation Heights,' if the reader can ignore the factually loose writing style. For me, I came away from the book feeling generally satisfied. My thanks goes out to this book's author, subjects, and publisher. I am grateful for, and have benefited from, your work and service.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was intersting and well written, but reviews of the book (paper book) mentioned the great photos. There was not a single photo in this entire 450 page nook book. This should have been made clear before I spent my money. You are getting a partial book. I am fascinated by non fiction history books and the photos are a big part of that. This will greatly affect my nook book choices in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A bit longer than it should have been. It kept my interest but got a little boring towards the end.
BrandyGirl More than 1 year ago
Never heard of this story before so thought I would check it out since I like true crime and I like this author. It reminds of a scam that took place way back in time. This book is in three parts. The second part gets a little bogged down with legal maneuverings but picks up in the third part.
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