Harold Schechter is an American true crime writer who specializes in serial killers. His most recent book, The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, The Model, and the Murder that Shook The Nation is undoubtedly one of the most captivating true crime literary works that I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

harryAs part of The Mad Sculptor (Of True Crime) Blog Tour, Harold will answer questions about the book, his writing process, and the MADNESS in his topics of study as a preeminent true crime writer: murderers and the media!

Book Synopsis

har2Beekman Place, once one of the most exclusive addresses in Manhattan, had a curious way of making it into the tabloids in the 1930s: “SKYSCRAPER SLAYER,” “BEAUTY SLAIN IN BATHTUB” read the headlines. On Easter Sunday in 1937, the discovery of a grisly triple homicide at Beekman Place would rock the neighborhood yet again—and enthrall the nation. The young man who committed the murders would come to be known in the annals of American crime as the Mad Sculptor.

Caught up in the Easter Sunday slayings was a bizarre and sensationalistic cast of characters, seemingly cooked up in a tabloid editor’s overheated imagination. The charismatic perpetrator, Robert Irwin, was a brilliant young sculptor who had studied with some of the masters of the era. But with his genius also came a deeply disturbed psyche; Irwin was obsessed with sexual self-mutilation and was frequently overcome by outbursts of violent rage.

Irwin’s primary victim, Veronica Gedeon, was a figure from the world of pulp fantasy—a stunning photographer’s model whose scandalous seminude pinups would titillate the public for weeks after her death. Irwin’s defense attorney, Samuel Leibowitz, was a courtroom celebrity with an unmatched record of acquittals and clients ranging from Al Capone to the Scottsboro Boys. And Dr. Fredric Wertham, psychiatrist and forensic scientist, befriended Irwin years before the murders and had predicted them in a public lecture months before the crime.

Based on extensive research and archival records, The Mad Sculptor recounts the chilling story of the Easter Sunday murders—a case that sparked a nationwide manhunt and endures as one of the most engrossing American crime dramas of the twentieth century. Harold Schechter’s masterful prose evokes the faded glory of post-depression New York and the singular madness of a brilliant mind turned against itself. It will keep you riveted until the very last page.

QUESTION: How did you end up in this line of work? Was true-crime a lifelong interest of yours?

Answer from Harold: Though I was drawn to true crime stories in my early years–Meyer Levin’s lightly factionalized version of the Leopold and Loeb case, COMPULSION, and Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD were favorites of mine–I’d have to say that it has been my lifelong interest in horror movies and fiction and my interest in why human beings need to hear stories about monsters that drew me to the genre.  In fact, when I started writing about psychokillers like Ed Gein and Albert Fish, I thought of myself as pioneering a new genre: not true crime but true horror.

February 23rd at the Flagler Museum in Florida

Below is Harold Shechter’s Blog Tour Schedule. I’m quite certain that you’ll want to check out each of the fine crime blog’s listed below.

February 18th 11am– My Life of Crime Blog

February 19th 11am– Murder by Gaslight Blog

February 20th 11am– True Crime Diary Blog

February 21st 11am– All Things Crime Blog

February 24th 11am– Historical Crime Detective Blog

February 25th 11am– True Crime Reader Blog

February 26th 11am– CLEWS Blog

About the Author

Harold Schechter is an American true crime writer who specializes in serial killers. He attended the State University of New York in Buffalo where his PhD director was Leslie Fiedler. He is professor of American literature and popular culture at Queens College of the City University of New York.Schechter is married to poet Kimiko Hahn. He has two daughters from a previous marriage: the writer Lauren Oliver and professor of philosophy Elizabeth Schechter.

 

 

 

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