by Whitney Grace
What is it about the gruesome details of a murder that make people love reading about them? Is it the mystery, the intrigue, or human curiosity trying to understand why it happens? Rick Geary is famous in the comic book world for his historical graphic novel series A Treasury of XXth Century Murder. In each book Geary combines fact with speculation about some of the most famous murder cases in history.
In Madison Square Tragedy, Geary tackles the case of Stanford White. White was one of New York’s top architects and he designed Madison Square Garden. Despite his high-class lifestyle, he was a philanderer with a liking for young show girls. He was infatuated with the budding starlet Evelyn Nesbit and “befriended” her, leading to a possible rape. Nesbit wasn’t without her defenders, though. Harry K. Thaw had a few loose screws and was an heir to a large fortune. He obsessively courted Nesbit, until she married him and he flew off the handle when he learned about her relationship with White. What did Thaw do next? As the story goes, he murdered the scoundrel.
Geary has a knack for writing a compelling account about murders, never over burdening readers with too many facts and adding a brief narrative to each case. One can sense a bit of dry humor creeping from the pages as he accounts the details with speculation he has pulled from his research. Geary never persuades readers one way or another, he simply lays out the evidence and probable theories, allowing the readers to come to their own conclusion. He favors stark pen and ink drawings for each murder that add to the series factual nature.
Madison Square Tragedy is another compelling addition to this already popular series.