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Pat J

Skip Hollandsworth Suggests an Austin Serial Killer Might Have Become Jack the Ripper

It was around 1998 that Hollandsworth first began hearing about Austin's famed Midnight Assassin – a murderer so predatory that in the 1890s, the town erected 31 moonlight towers to beat back the darkness and keep Austin safe from this brutal, ax-wielding monster.

So, along with the help of other researchers, he started digging. “You can't find a search engine to look up murders in 19th-century Austin,” says Hollandsworth. “Writing history depends on whatever documents you can find, and so it was just a matter of looking for the right newspaper articles, government documents, police reports, diaries, journals. It was a needle-in-the-haystack hunt.”


Except he didn't stop there: One haystack soon became two, and each clue led him further down the rabbit hole. “I would lay awake at night haunted by what I didn't know.” He tried libraries in Houston, Galveston and New York City, train records, ship manifests and prison records. He hunted down and interviewed the descendants of those affected by the murders. Soon Hollandsworth became an Austinologist (“they're the Austin version of Ripperologists”) and he wasn't alone; others were also following the clues to see if there was any truth to the rumors that the man responsible for a year-long killing spree in Texas could be the same monster who surfaced three year's later as England's infamous Jack the Ripper.

As with all things Austin, it soon got weird. He uncovered evidence of bumbling cops, incompetent detectives, faked evidence, impersonators and horribly wrong theories. “Initially the killings were considered, as one man said at the time, 'a negro matter.' [The theory was] that depraved black men, for reasons of their own, were attacking black servant women. It never occurred to them that one man was responsible.” Later theories became so preposterous that, at one point, “a group of fake detectives who called themselves Pinkertons showed up and made a mess of things themselves. They came up with the idea that the Governor was the killer.”

Was one man so cunning, intelligent and ruthless that he did his practice lap in Austin before moving on to the streets of London to become one of the most notorious serial killers in history? Could this sociopath so easily discard his Texas twang and adopt not just an English accent, but just the right dialect to pass in London society?

“I'm still haunted by what I don't know. I just think there's something out there,” says Hollandsworth.

Hollandsworth will sign his new book on April 5th here in Houston and we'll be there.

Pre-order your copy today.

Price $34.95

 


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reading in bed

The Mystery of Elliott Books

aka A Tribute to the influence of John Dunning

One night in about 1999 I was going to sleep reading Booked To Die by John Dunning about an ex-cop turned bookstore owner when I had an Epiphany. "I could do this and it would be great fun." The next day armed with my love of reading and the expertise I gained from Booked To Die, I set out to buy some books that I thought I could sell. After a bout a week I had my dinning room table full so the next step was trying to figure out how to sell them on eBay.

Everyone in my family was telling me that I was wasting my time because I didn't know the first thing about books. Little be-known to them I had now finished all 6 of Dunning's books in the Janeway series!

Cliff Janeway
1. Booked To Die (1992)
2. The Bookman's Wake (1995)
3. The Bookman's Promise (2004)
4. The Sign of the Book (2005)
5. The Bookwoman's Last Fling (2006)

The Sign of the Book was a treasure trove of information and it was even summarized!!

A year later, I opened Elliott Books with the well wishes and support of many authors and other independent booksellers.

If you love a good mystery and don't mind learning a few things about how to be a better book collector, you might want to try one of the Janeway books.

 

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Booked to Die: A Mystery Introducing Cliff Janeway by John Dunning

Publisher: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1992
ISBN: 9780684193830
ID: Mar0255

Signed! Hardcover bookclub edition. Fine book in fine jacket. Signed on a custom designed bookplate and is author's signature only. Minimum scuffing and edge wear. No writing or marks. Comes with Certificate of Authenticity for author's signature.

Price in US $ 125.00 Marked Down from $150.00

 

 

Summary: Denver cop and rare book collector Cliff Janeway is introduced in this engrossing whodunit from two-time Edgar nominee Dunning. A sensitive and introspective sort, Janeway chafes in the hard-edged role of law enforcer so often demanded of him. When a down-on-his-luck book scout named Bobby Westfall is murdered, Cliff at first suspects local thug and personal nemesis Jackie Newton. Newton's girlfriend, a victim of physical abuse, makes Cliff more determined than ever to nail Newton. Sensitivity notwithstanding, he goes after his quarry with both fists cocked and both barrels aimed, neglecting any semblance of correct police procedure. This ironic twist shapes the plot as Janeway delves further into his city's antiquarian book trade, whose practitioners display an expertise exceeded only by their greed. Crisp, direct prose and nearly pitch-perfect dialogue enhance this meticulously detailed page-turner.

 

 

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The Bookman's Wake: A Mystery with Cliff Janeway by John Dunning

Publisher: Scribner, 1995
ISBN: 9780684800035
ID: Mar0254

Signed! Hardcover first edition / first printing. Fine book in fine jacket, not price clipped, Signed on a custom designed bookplate and is author's signature only. Minimum scuffing and edge wear. Top two corners slightly bumped. No writing or marks Comes with Certificate of Authenticity for author's signature.

Price in US $ 29.95 Marked Down from $34.95

Summary: The sequel to the popular Booked to Die. Cliff Janeway, Denver cop-turned-book-dealer, finds himself chasing down a charming young fugitive named Eleanor Rigby, who has stolen a rare copy of Poe's "The Raven" for reasons of her own. Trouble follows, and Eleanor disappears into a city filled with people who want the book, and don't care what they have to do to get it. Stuffed with fascinating book lore, this mystery is a bibliophile's dream.

 

 

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The Bookwoman's Last Fling: A Cliff Janeway Novel by John Dunning

Publisher: Scribner, 2006
ISBN: 9780743289450
ID: Mar0253

Signed! Hardcover first edition / first printing. Fine book in fine jacket, not price clipped, Signed on a custom designed bookplate and is author's signature only. Minimum scuffing and edge wear. No writing or marks Comes with Certificate of Authenticity for author's signature.

Price in US $ 49.95 Marked Down from $60.00

Summary: In another enthralling bestseller by "master yarn spinner" ("Chicago Sun-Times") John Dunning, rare book dealer and relentless private eye Cliff Janeway unravels a deadly plot marked by stolen classics and stable secrets.
When wealthy horse trainer H. R. Geiger dies, Denver bookman Cliff Janeway encounters the legacy of the man's wife, Candice, a true bookwoman who left behind an assortment of rare first-edition children's books. Sent to assess the collection, Janeway soon finds that several titles are missing, replaced by cheap reprints -- while other hugely expensive pieces remain. Why would a thief take one priceless book and leave an equally valuable volume on the shelf? Suspecting foul play, Janeway follows the trail of Candice's shadowy past to California's Golden Gate and Santa Anita racetracks, where he signs on as a racehorse hot walker. Eavesdropping on the chatter among the hands, he doesn't like what he hears. And when he goes to the house where Candice died to look for answers, Janeway finds much more than he bargained for.

 

 

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The Sign of the Book: A Cliff Janeway "Bookman" Novel by John Dunning

Publisher: Scribner, 2005
ISBN: 9780743255059
ID: Mar0252

Signed! Hardcover first edition / first printing. Fine book in fine jacket, not price clipped, Signed on a custom designed bookplate and is author's signature only. Minimum scuffing and edge wear. No writing or marks Comes with Certificate of Authenticity for author's signature.

Price in US $ 29.95 Marked Down from $34.95

Summary: From "New York Times" bestselling author John Dunning comes a riveting new Cliff Janeway Bookman novel, combining captivating book lore with page-turning suspense.
Denver bookman and ex-cop Cliff Janeway is enjoying the good life, buying and selling the books he adores as he ekes out a living in his store on seedy East Colfax. And it doesn't hurt that superstar lawyer Erin D'Angelo has joined him as a partner in both business and love.
Erin is a special lady, so it's hard for Janeway to refuse her when she asks a favor. Will he travel to the little mountain town of Paradise, Colorado, to check on one of Erin's girlhood friends who's in deep trouble? Laura Marshall sits in the county jail, accused of murdering her husband, Bobby.
The situation is delicate because Bobby and Erin were a couple before he married Laura. In fact, it was Laura's affair with Bobby that ended Erin's relationship with each of them, and the women have been estranged ever since. Now Laura has called on Erin for help, but Erin's not sure she even wants to see her onetime best friend, let alone get involved in her case. Could Janeway visit Laura on Erin's behalf and try to find out what happened the night Bobby died?
The clincher for Janeway: Bobby Marshall was a book collector, and Janeway can't resist a house full of books any more than he can resist Erin's uncharacteristic request. His normally self-sufficient girlfriend is clearly at loose ends. He drives to Paradise the next day.
Janeway soon discovers that neither he nor Erin is likely to be able to save Laura Marshall. The young wife and mother is terrified of something and has already admitted to the arresting officer -- a smarmy local deputy with a huge chip on his shoulder -- that she shot her husband and then tried to dispose of the bloody evidence.
But did everything really happen as Laura claims? And what about the books? Bobby had a vast library, but at a casual glance, the titles seem ordinary, even to a seasoned bookman like Janeway. Could they possibly be a motive for murder?
Janeway, Erin, and local attorney Parley McNamara discover that the case against Laura Marshall is far more complicated than it seems. Professionally, Erin must decide whether to represent Laura; and personally, whether a decades-old friendship can be resurrected. Janeway wants to know the significance of Bobby's book collection. He senses their importance, and under his careful scrutiny, the rows of unremarkable volumes could reveal a killer's motive.
Rich with the intricacies of book collecting that only an expert like John Dunning can offer, "The Sign of the Book" is a beautifully crafted, enthralling novel of suspense from the consummate bookman himself.

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Two O'Clock, Eastern Wartime: A Novel by John Dunning

Publisher: Scribner, 2001
ISBN: 9780743201957
ID: Mar0250

Signed! Hardcover first edition / first printing. This is a special Fingerprint Edition. It is signed on special page by Dunning and has the finger print of his "Scarred Embattled Ring Finger." This edition is roomered to be limited to only 2000 copies. Fine book in fine jacket, not price clipped, Minimum scuffing and edge wear. No writing or marks. Comes with Certificate of Authenticity for author's signature.

Price in US $ 100.00 Marked Down from $125.00

Summary: John Dunning's previous novels featuring a sleuth who's an expert in rare and collectible books won this former bookstore owner a devoted following; first editions of "Booked to Die" and "The Bookman's Wake" routinely fetch high sums in stores like the one Dunning himself owned for many years. With the verisimilitude that's a hallmark of his writing, Dunning delves into a new topic, the golden days of radio, igniting the reader's excitement about the enormous potential of the medium. Sadly, he can't assuage the inevitable disappointment over how that potential was wasted: "Radio is the greatest invention of the past four centuries. It ranks right up there with Gutenberg's movable type as an earthshaking force.... One of the first things Gutenberg did with his movable type was print a magnificent Bible. The first thing radio did was argue how much selling would be permitted and how ridiculous it would be allowed to get. If it keeps on the way it's going there won't be anything worth listening to.... I have this almost morbid fear of the future--not that radio's greatest days will fade away but that its greatest day will never come. Fifty years from now it could just be a medium of hucksters and fools, a whorehouse in the sky." The speaker is Jack Dulaney, a novelist who follows a dead man's trail to the Jersey shore in the early days of World War II, where a radio station owned by a recluse has fallen on hard times. The mysterious Harford, who built the station as a showcase for his late wife's ambition, has all but abandoned WHAR, but the actors, writers, producers, and technicians who once shared the dead woman's dream are galvanized by the appearance of Dulaney, who finds his true métier in the creation of original, politically provocative broadcast dramas. He also discovers true love in a talented young singer, Holly Carnahan, whose affections he once sacrificed out of loyalty to his best friend.
Carnahan's search for her missing father involves Dulaney in a mystery rooted in the long-ago Boer War that has grown into a conspiracy peopled by German saboteurs, Irish nationalists, and African freedom fighters. The plotting is dense and the cast of minor characters merely sketched, but Dulaney's creative process is artfully drawn and the ambience of America in wartime is skillfully portrayed. "--Jane Adams"

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Two O'Clock, Eastern Wartime: A Novel by John Dunning

Publisher: Scribner, 2001
ISBN: 9780743201957
ID: Mar0251

Flat Signed! Hardcover first edition / first printing. Fine book in fine jacket, not price clipped, Signed on the title page and is author's signature only. Minimum scuffing and edge wear. No writing or marks Comes with Certificate of Authenticity for author's signature.

Price in US $ 34.95 Marked Down from $80.00

Summary: John Dunning's previous novels featuring a sleuth who's an expert in rare and collectible books won this former bookstore owner a devoted following; first editions of "Booked to Die" and "The Bookman's Wake" routinely fetch high sums in stores like the one Dunning himself owned for many years. With the verisimilitude that's a hallmark of his writing, Dunning delves into a new topic, the golden days of radio, igniting the reader's excitement about the enormous potential of the medium. Sadly, he can't assuage the inevitable disappointment over how that potential was wasted: "Radio is the greatest invention of the past four centuries. It ranks right up there with Gutenberg's movable type as an earthshaking force.... One of the first things Gutenberg did with his movable type was print a magnificent Bible. The first thing radio did was argue how much selling would be permitted and how ridiculous it would be allowed to get. If it keeps on the way it's going there won't be anything worth listening to.... I have this almost morbid fear of the future--not that radio's greatest days will fade away but that its greatest day will never come. Fifty years from now it could just be a medium of hucksters and fools, a whorehouse in the sky." The speaker is Jack Dulaney, a novelist who follows a dead man's trail to the Jersey shore in the early days of World War II, where a radio station owned by a recluse has fallen on hard times. The mysterious Harford, who built the station as a showcase for his late wife's ambition, has all but abandoned WHAR, but the actors, writers, producers, and technicians who once shared the dead woman's dream are galvanized by the appearance of Dulaney, who finds his true métier in the creation of original, politically provocative broadcast dramas. He also discovers true love in a talented young singer, Holly Carnahan, whose affections he once sacrificed out of loyalty to his best friend.
Carnahan's search for her missing father involves Dulaney in a mystery rooted in the long-ago Boer War that has grown into a conspiracy peopled by German saboteurs, Irish nationalists, and African freedom fighters. The plotting is dense and the cast of minor characters merely sketched, but Dulaney's creative process is artfully drawn and the ambience of America in wartime is skillfully portrayed. "--Jane Adams"