Review A Talent to Deceive – William Norris

For almost 90 years, the Lindbergh Kidnapping has been a major topic of controversy and fascination in history. After a six-week trial, Bruno Richard Hauptmann was named the ultimate culprit of the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh’s infant son. Hauptmann pleaded that he was not guilty even as he took his last breath execution day. Since the trial, there have been many theories concluding that Hauptmann was innocent. A Talent to Deceive is the book that solves a mystery through investigative journalism. William Norris dives into evidence ignored by previous investigators in search of the truth. Who really committed the crime? What really happened the night of March 1, 1932? What was the motive to kidnap and murder the Lindbergh baby? 

I received this book through Netgalley almost a year ago, and only got around to reading it now. A shame, because I did enjoy it.

This will however be quite a short review, because this book really is what it says on the tin: a true crime book on the kidnap and murder of the Lindbergh baby in 1932. Norris describes to us the processes that went on during the investigation, the misconducts, falsifications and the wrongful execution of Bruno Richard Hauptmann. For someone like me who was completely unfamiliar with this case before starting this book it was incredibly interesting and almost unfathomable that these events could take place. If you are however familiar with the general facts of the case, which I can imagine to be a common occurrence among the American readers, I don’t know how much new information this book will give you.

My only, personal, problem with this book is that Norris can get a bit loud with his personal opinions and ideas at times. In certain cases short comments on the credibility of evidence and statements works really well. But in other cases, especially when he makes a case on who He thinks did it, it gets a bit much and I would have preferred if stuck a bit more to the facts. This is very much a preference of me though, and I can imagine it may not bother other readers whatsoever.

Overall I found this a very readable, detailed and interesting book and would certainly recommend it if this is a topic you are interested in whatsoever.

5 thoughts on “Review A Talent to Deceive – William Norris

  1. When I hear how relieved people are when some guy is charged with a reviled crime — ‘Did they catch him? They did? Well, that’s a relief!’ — I mentally hear the phrase, ‘We’ll give ’im a fair trial, then we’ll hang ’im.’

    And if I’d point out he may be the wrong guy who’s being railroaded, I could receive the erroneous refrain, ‘Well if he’s truly innocent, he has nothing to worry about.’

    It’s why I strongly feel the news-media should refrain from publishing the identity of people charged with a crime—especially one of a repugnant nature, for which they are jailed pending trial (as is typically done)—until at least after they’ve been convicted?

    Considering the flaws—even corruption—in the law-enforcement and justice system, no one should have their name permanently tarnished and life potentially ruined because the news-media insists upon immediately running a breaking story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I fully agree with you! It happens too often that said person receives abuse before the trail (Johnny Depp being a great example, but there are many people who would otherwise be unknown), and it is almost impossible for them to clear their name.
      I watched a really good episode of Criminal UK (2.2) the other day that touched on this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The whole process can be morbidly corrupt. And the mainstream news-media covering it seem to shrug their shoulders while claiming, ‘I’m just doing my job — I just tell the story.’

        Also, the collective readership doesn’t seem to really care, since it doesn’t involve them (or their loved-ones) plus such injustice could never happen to them.

        Liked by 1 person

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