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I totally agree, being a Dewey decimal addict - and librarian manquee - "American Eve" is brilliant, but it belongs in true crime, not biography.Laura says:-"Dewey number of 364.152" ... is where I always headed first in any library from the age of 13. Law is shelved at 343 or thereabouts, and where I got the "Trial of.." whoever in the British Notable crimes section. Happy days! Our libraries are full of CDs, DVD's and computers now hardly any books :-(

An Avid Reader

The librarians who make the decision on placement of these books really have a lot of reponsibility. There are any number of true crime stories hidden away under local history or feminist history in Danish libraries. The latter in particular I resent. The former I merely regret.

Mark Daniels

Interesting. My library classifies both "Devil in the White City" and the recent book "Suspicions of Mr. Whicher" by Kate Summerscale (about the Road House murder of 1860 and the Scotland Yard detective who correctly fingered Constance Kent) as true crime; yet my local Barnes & Noble has them both in their "History" section... leaving their true crime section to the likes of Ann Rule and what Luc Sante describes as books with two-word titles, black covers, white lettering, and the obligatory splash of blood. You know, the sensationalist and populist mass-market stuff.

I've been voraciously reading the more "literary" historic true crime of Larson, Roughead, and anything I can find regarding cases between 1820 and 1920. I've read twelve such books now (in a row!) and have already depleted my library system of such fare... at least, in their true crime section. The B&N classification (and your original post) makes me wonder what I might be missing in the library's HISTORY stacks. More of what I call "Victorian/Edwardian true crime" perhaps?


Why, I think a lot of us have had the same experience, Mark -- we've all tapped out the true crime shelves at our local library. But we can look past that shelf for some of the best stuff, as you point out.

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