Simon Baatz

The Girl on the Velvet Swing: Sex, Murder, and Madness at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century

Published by Mulholland Books

Feb 16, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

In 1901, young actress Evelyn Nesbit was drugged and raped by famous New York architect Stanford White. Or was she? Years later White, designer of the original Madison Square Garden, was murdered by Nesbit's husband Harry Thaw, and what proceeded was the trial of the young century. With The Girl on the Velvet Swing, historian Simon Baatz takes his readers back to the early 1900s to explore the case and the personalities involved.

Baatz's history balances murder mystery with courtroom drama. He fleshes out the characters involved in a gripping book that is nearly impossible to put down. Delving deep into original source material, including newspaper accounts and the autobiographies of the tale's main players, Baatz has crafted a book that reads more like a novel than a historical tome.

Peppered with historical photos and with prose that paints a wonderful picture of New York City at the dawn of the 20th century, The Girl on the Velvet Swing brings the characters to life again. And while the book's main point of contention is never ultimately proven, The Girl on the Velvet Swing is a whirlwind of a ride trying to expose the truth.


Author rating: 7.5/10

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