A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight, by Victoria Lincoln
A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight, by Victoria Lincoln. 1967 hardcover. 317 pages, very nice condition, dust jacket is not perfect.
A Private Disgrace is the single best account of the ghastly murders which took place in Fall River, Massachusetts on August 14, 1892. Lizzie Andrew Borden (b.1860 – d.1927) was tried and acquitted in the 1892 axe murders of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts. Media coverage of the case created a furor throughout the United States reminiscent of the Rosenberg, Claus von Bulow and O.J. Simpson trials. No other suspect was ever charged with the double homicide, and speculation on the case continues to this day.
The case is curious because there was no physical evidence linking Lizzie to the murder. The broken axe the police found in the basement was clean of blood and the police refused to use forensic testing for fingerprints (a science then in its infancy). The defense raised evidence that Andrew Borden was a hard businessman who had made many enemies. On the other hand, the atmosphere in the Borden household was tense, Lizzie resented her stepmother, she was prone to mental instability, and she had purchased poison a few days before the murders which police suspected was the cause of food poisoning. There was a financial motive: Lizzie was upset her father had transferred property she was due to inherit to other family members. And then there was the 'paint stained' dress Lizzie burned three days after the murder…
Although there are many books written on the double homicide and subsequent murder trial, A Private Disgrace is far and above the most readable and also the only book written by someone who both lived in the same neighborhood, and knew, the aging Lizzie Borden. Victoria Lincoln was a professional writer who grew up in Fall River, near Lizzie Borden. As the daughter of a family that produced machinery for the cotton mills that were the foundation of Fall River’s economy, Miss Lincoln grew up acutely aware of the social distinctions, manners and mores of the society to which the Bordens belonged.