Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Megan Abbott

Rebecca Godfrey interviewed Megan Abbott at The Barnes & Noble Review about Abbott's new novel, Bury Me Deep, and other subjects. The start of their dialogue:

The Barnes & Noble Review: The heroine of your new novel is based on a woman labeled the Blonde Butcher. Can you talk a bit about her crime and how you learned of it?

Megan Abbott: Yes, the book's loosely based on this famous tabloid case known as the Winnie Ruth Judd Trunk Murders. It happened in Phoenix during the depths of the Great Depression. Winnie Ruth, this naive young women married to a much older man, was left to fend for herself while her husband went to Mexico for work. She became fast friends with two of the town's young women. The tabloids would later call them party girls and refer to "thrill parties" held at their home. Lonely and swept up in it all, Winnie Ruth fell hard for one of these men, this dashing young comer named Jack Halloran. Their affair upset the balance of power among the women and, under circumstances that are still unclear, led to a double murder.

I can't really remember a time when I didn't know about the case. As a reader of true-crime since I was very young, I was always coming upon her name in books about women criminals. Generally, she was portrayed either as a wild-eyed lunatic, or as this gorgeous femme fatale. A few years ago, I picked up Jana Bommersbach's wonderful book about the case, and it was like a revelation. There was so much more to the tale than the "trunk murderess" legend. The real story was actually much more shocking and much more poignant.

BNR: Your earlier books share some of the clipped, tough prose you find in Chandler or Ellroy, with sentences like, "She got me in with the hard boys, the fast money, and I couldn't get enough," but Bury Me Deep has more lyrical, almost incantatory, passages.

MA: Queenpin was my most conscious effort to write a book set not in the real world but in "noir world." So I just...[read on]
Read an excerpt from Bury Me Deep, and learn more about the book and author at Megan Abbott's website.

At The Rap Sheet: The Story Behind the Story: “Bury Me Deep,” by Megan Abbott.

The Page 69 Test: Bury Me Deep.

--Marshal Zeringue