Journalist and author Douglas Perry discusses his new book, The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers who Inspired Chicago.
This retrospective of two Jazz Age trials introduces us to the real-life original killer ladies of the musical Chicago—and to the society that adored them. Perry revisits the 1924 cases of Belva Gaertner, a swanky divorcée, and Beulah Annan, a beautiful married woman, both accused of shooting their lovers to death. The author gives an entertaining rundown of the cases and the surrounding media hoopla, which the defendants and their lawyers cannily manipulated. Beneath the sensationalism, Perry examines the anxieties about changing sex roles and illuminates the dawning age of celebrity culture.
Recorded Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at the Harold Washington Library Center.