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Review: The Borden Tragedy by Rick Geary

The Borden Tragedy
by Rick Geary


Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks;
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one!


I seem to remember this little ditty from childhood, although I don't believe I knew who Lizzie Borden was until high school or early college, when I stumbled across the story in a compilation of American hauntings. It's a terrible tale of unsolved murders, to be sure! In Fall Rivers, MA, the wealthy Andrew Borden and his wife are brutally murdered on a hot summer morning. The main suspect is Andrew's spinster daughter, Lizzie,and her trial will become one of the most hotly debated of the 19th century.

Rick Geary's comic book is a very succinct telling of the story. He neatly summarizes events and includes all the major details. It's a little dry, his telling, but I like that he doesn't veers off into speculation or attempt to solve the mystery beyond the conclusions drawn by the 19th century public. He also avoids the later rumors of ghosts and hauntings that became attached to the Borden House, which I thought was the right way to go with this book.

The way that Rick Geary draws cheekbones weirds me out a little. He draws a series of parallel horizontal lines to mimic the shadowed contours of the face, but on several characters (most notably, Lizzie Borden) it looks more like he drew cat whiskers on her face. Otherwise, his comic does a great job of capturing the feel of 19th century newspaper illustrations – which you can directly compare, since several facsimiles of the original newspaper accounts of the murder and trial are reproduced at the back of the book.

Interesting note: Today, the Borden House is open to the public as a bed and breakfast.


3.5 out of 5 stars


To read more about The Borden Tragedy, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

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