I've been brooding about The New York Times swipe at true crime.
Especially that bit wherein a professional book reviewer for the most prestigious newspaper in the country stated that the language of true crime "dishonors the dead."
I'll give you an example of dishonoring the dead.
One of the most infamous cases in the history of New England was the double murder on Smutty Nose Island. One night, three women were home alone while their fishermen husbands were away. They were robbed. When one of the women awoke, the robber (a man they knew well) attacked them with an axe.
One of the women was Maren Hontvet. She managed to escape the house, but her sister and sister-in-law were not so fortunate; they were brutally axed to death. Maren Hontvet, ears ringing with the screams of the others, ran to the shore of the island, slicing open her feet on the sharp rocks there, and spent the entire frigid March night huddled in hiding. She later testified against their attacker. The evidence against him was absolutely overwhelming, and he was hanged for the murders.
Author Anita Shreve fictionalized the case in her mystery / suspense novel "The Weight of Water." Except in Shreve's version of the story, Maren Hontvet wasn't a victim -- she was an incestuous lesbian (!) who butchered the other two women (!!) because of some bizarre psychosexual malfunction (!!!).
Based on a look at the on-line reviews, it seems none of Shreve's fans are aware of just how much she "fictionalized" the story. One ignorant reviewer even remarked, "The Smuttynose murders are historical fact... even though Maren did name the murderer and he was tried and hanged, speculation still abounds."
This, ladies and gentlemen, is pure bull. The numerous accounts of the murders -- written by journalists of the time, a famous literary writer who knew the victims well, and several true crime writers since -- leave no room for reasonable doubt. But Shreve never even bothered to change the names. Maren Hontvet was mercilessly libeled.
Now that is dishonoring the dead.
And I'd like to see the critics of true crime who champion the mystery genre as superior put that in their pipes and smoke it. Cough, cough.