With murder, court battles, and sensational newspaper headlines, the story of Lizzie Borden is compulsively readable and perfect for the Common Core.
Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.
In a compelling, linear narrative, Miller takes readers along as she investigates a brutal crime: the August 4, 1892, murders of wealthy and prominent Andrew and Abby Borden. The accused? Mild-mannered and highly respected Lizzie Borden, daughter of Andrew and stepdaughter of Abby. Most of what is known about Lizzie’s arrest and subsequent trial (and acquittal) comes from sensationalized newspaper reports; as Miller sorts fact from fiction, and as a legal battle gets underway, a gripping portrait of a woman and a town emerges.
With inserts featuring period photos and newspaper clippings—and, yes, images from the murder scene—readers will devour this nonfiction book that reads like fiction.
A School Library Journal Best Best Book of the Year
“Sure to be a hit with true crime fans everywhere.” —School Library Journal, Starred
|Publisher:||Random House Children's Books|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||10 Years|
About the Author
Sarah Miller is the author of two historical fiction novels, Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller, which was called “an accomplished debut” in a starred review from Booklist and was named an ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Recording, and The Lost Crown, about the Romanovs, hailed as “fascinating” in a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.
Read an Excerpt
Thursday, August 4, 1892
Lizzie could hardly look past the blood, there was so much of it. Blood soaked Mr. Borden’s neatly folded Prince Albert coat. It dripped from the slick horsehair cushions to the flowered carpet below. It arced in a fine spatter across the wall and picture frame above. In the midst of it all, her father lay stretched out on the couch with his face so carved and bloodied that she did not know whether he was alive or dead. “I did not notice anything else, I was so frightened and horrified. I ran to the foot of the stairs and called Maggie.”
Bridget Sullivannicknamed Maggie by Lizzie and her sisterhad barely managed to drift to sleep when the shouting woke her. Bridget did not dally an instant. A housemaid had no business stealing a few winks at eleven in the morning, and besides,that scream was too loud, too strident for any ordinary reprimand.
“What is the matter?” Bridget shouted back.
“Come down quick!”
Down three flights of stairs Bridget came pounding to find Miss Lizzie Borden in a state such as she’d never seen beforebacked up against the screen door as though she were about to flee the house entirely.
“Go for Dr. Bowen as soon as you can,” Lizzie commanded. “I think Father is hurt.”
Instinctively Bridget moved toward the sitting room to see what was the matter with her employer, Mr. Andrew Borden. “Oh, Maggie, don’t go in,” Lizzie cried. “I have got to have a doctor quick. Go over. I have got to have the doctor,” she insisted.
Bridget dashed across Second Street and “rang violently” at Dr. Bowen’s door, only to have Mrs. Bowen inform her that thedoctor was out making house calls. Back Bridget hurried with the bad news. Lizzie had not budged from the doorway.
“Miss Lizzie, where was you?” Bridget ventured to ask. “Didn’t I leave the screen door hooked?”
“I was out in the backyard and heard a groan, and came in and the screen door was wide open.”
But Lizzie Borden did not want to answer questions. She wanted help. If she could not have the doctor, she wanted her friend, Miss Alice Russell. “Go and get her,” she begged. “I can’t be alone in the house.”
Bridget yanked her hat and shawl from their hook and took off toward Borden Street.
Lizzie Borden waited, aloneas far as anyone knew. There were three locks on the front door. No one intent on harming her father could have gotten in that way. And anyone who might still be lurking inside could not possibly escape without her notice now.
“Lizzie, what is the matter?” said a voice from behind her. But it was only Mrs. Adelaide Churchill, the young widow next door. On her way home from her marketing she’d noticed Bridget crossing the street from Dr. Bowen’s house, “running, and she looked as if she was scared.” Mrs. Churchill went straight home and laid her groceries on a bench in the kitchen. Through her kitchen window she caught a glimpse of Miss Lizzie leaning against the doorway of the back screen, rubbing her face “as if she was in great distress.” The young woman looked so much out of sorts, Mrs. Churchill had opened her window and called across the fence.
“O, Mrs. Churchill,” Lizzie answered, “do come over, somebody has killed Father.”
By the time Mrs. Churchill hurried across the yard, Lizzie had sunk down onto the second step, “pale and frightened.”
“O Lizzie, where is your father?” she asked, laying a hand on Lizzie’s arm.
“In the sitting room.”
Mrs. Churchill did not go in. Instead, she asked, “Where was you when it happened?”
“I went to the barn to get a piece of iron.”
“Where is your mother?”
“I don’t know,” Lizzie said, her words spilling out now, “she had a note to go and see someone that was sick this morning, but I don’t know but they have killed her too. Father must have had an enemy, for we have all been sick, and we think the milk has been poisoned. Dr. Bowen is not at home, but I must have a doctor.”
“Shall I go, Lizzie, and try to find someone to go and get a doctor?” Mrs. Churchill asked.
She answered yes, and Mrs. Churchill ran across the street to L. L. Hall’s Stable for help.
Lizzie Borden did not want to be alone in that house. She had told Bridget so, and still Bridget had brought her neither the doctor nor Miss Russell. Where could that girl be?
“I don’t know but what Mr. Borden is dead”
It was no more than quarter past eleven when Alice Russell saw the Bordens’ maid hurrying up her front steps. Right then Alice knew there was trouble. Only last evening herfriend Lizzie had come calling with worrisome news. She and her father and stepmother, Lizzie said, had all been taken sick Tuesday nightvery sick indeed.
Alice laid aside her work at once and met Bridget at the door.
“What is it, Bridget? Are they worse?” Alice asked.
Bridget did not take time to explain. She hardly knew herself just what had happened. “Yes,” the young Irishwoman said. “I don’t know but what Mr. Borden is dead.” She paused only long enough to hear Alice say she would come before taking off again. To Bridget’s relief, Dr. Bowen was just stepping from his carriage as she ran back up Second Street.
“What is the matter, Lizzie?” Dr. Bowen asked as he entered the house.
Under any other circumstances, the sight of his familiar face with its graying mustache andside-whiskers might have calmed Lizzie. After all, he had lived across the street from the Bordens for twenty years; she had known him since she was agirl of twelve.
Lizzie answered that she was afraid her father had been stabbed or hurt.
That one wordstabbedtook him aback. He expected sickness, possibly bad, judging from the way his wife had called out They want you quick over to Mr. Borden’s! before he stepped from his carriage. Even poisoning would not have completely surprised him. The previous day, Mrs. Borden had arrived at his office before eight o’clock in the morning, nearly hysterical with fear that her family’s bread had been tainted. But stabbing?
“Has there been anybody here?” Dr. Bowen asked.
Not as she knew of, Lizzie answered.
“Where is he?” the doctor asked.
Lizzie led him through the dining room and motioned toward the sitting room door. Not a sound came from the other side.
Steeled for the worst, Dr. Bowen went in.
Table of Contents
Who's Who x
Lizzie Borden Took an Axe xiii
The Bordens 21
Preliminary Hearing 115
The Waiting Time 139
Trial of the Century 159
Researching the Bordens 254
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Many stories have been written about Lizzie Borden and her supposed crimes, but author Sarah Miller puts an intriguing spin on the tale in her recent release, THE BORDEN MURDERS: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century. Miller’s nonfiction reads like a thriller as she investigates this brutal crime. Wealthy and prominent Andrew Borden and his wife, Abby, were murdered in their home on Aug. 4, 1892. Andrew’s daughter (Abby’s stepdaughter), Lizzie, was accused of the murders, tried and acquitted. The sensationalized case has captured people’s attention for over 100 years. The murder weapon, a supposed axe, was never recovered. Presenting the case as open as possible, Miller allows readers to make up their own minds about Lizzie’s innocence or guilt. With Lizzie’s acquittal, no one else was ever arrested for the murders which remain unsolved. This fascinating story includes photographs and newspaper clippings from the time of the murders to further enhance the account. In addition, the author includes tidbits of history and/or customs throughout the story that deals with the era of the murders. From the opening page to the last sentence, this is a compelling story that holds you spellbound. The unsolved grisly murders of the Bordens continues to mystify us all these years later. Miller presents an informative and captivating story in THE BORDEN MURDERS which will leave you analyzing the case anew. FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
As I had really only seen the movie with Elizabeth Montgomery, I was interested in learning more about this. As I recall in the movie, the houses weren't quite as close as they seem to be in this book which is even more perplexing. This was a very informative book that I enjoyed reading. Apparently, the law of hearsay had not been made around this time. I was both alarmed and amazed at the rumors that were flying about this poor woman and what was being allowed to be said in a court of law. The author did a lot of research on this subject. While the subject was quite grisly, I found the book interesting. It's still perplexing to me that no one was found to be guilty of these murders even after all this time. Thanks Random House Childrens and Net Galley for providing me with this free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.