Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mamie Thurman

This is another book that I snagged at Yule, when I met Appalachian authors Michael Knost, Brian J. Hatcher, and F. Keith Davis.

I grew up in southern West Virginia, but I've never been to Logan County so I knew nothing about this case before reading the book. If you want quick details, check out the Wikipedia page on Mamie Thurman.

I'm not a huge fan of sensational true crime books (you know the type - churned out overnight, right after the crime is committed). Given the year of Mamie's murder (1932), this book has the objectivity that only time can bring to a case like this. I know who I suspect the most (the wife of Mamie's lover) but, until modern forensics can get involved, there's no way to definitively solve this case.

I strongly encourage you to purchase The Secret Life and Brutal Death of Mamie Thurman by F. Keith Davis straight from the publisher, Woodland Press, because Woodland Press is an Independent West Virginia Book Publisher, but this book is also available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.


The Secret Life And Brutal Death Of Mamie ThurmanThe Secret Life And Brutal Death Of Mamie Thurman by Cheryl Dawn Davis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A true crime book about the 1932 murder of Mamie Thurman in Logan County, West Virginia.

This book -written in journalistic fashion, which rarely hooks me in the way that other narrative styles do- presents the legal documentation and news coverage of the case. This can make for a dry reading, but the author never presumes to lay the guilt on any party, leaving those assumptions for the readers to form. The author stays with the public record, while I would have like more intimate details about Mamie's private life. The author ends the book by discussing Mamie's impact on Logan, WV, recounting the local legends -including a couple of ghost stories- surrounding the Mamie Thurman mystery.

Unfortunately, no one has found the grave of Mamie Thurman - it would be interesting to see what modern forensics could tell us about this case now.

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