Blood & Ivy by Paul Collins

Blood & Ivy

A delectable true-crime story of scandal and murder at America’s most celebrated university.On November 23rd of 1849, in the heart of Boston, one of the city’s richest men simply vanished. Dr. George Parkman, a Brahmin who owned much of Boston’s West End, was last seen that afternoon visiting his alma mater, Harvard Medical School. Police scoured city tenements and the harbor, and offered hefty rewards as leads put the elusive Dr. Parkman a...

Details Blood & Ivy

TitleBlood & Ivy
Release DateJul 17th, 2018
PublisherW. W. Norton Company
GenreCrime, True Crime, Nonfiction, History, Mystery, Historical, North American Hi..., American History

Reviews Blood & Ivy

  • Emily
    True crime is not my usual genre, in fact, I think Devil in the White City is the only other true crime book I’ve read. For fans of that book, I recommend you give Collins a try. Blood and Ivy has that interesting narrative style of a lot of modern history books like Devil in the White City. Collins has an extensive list of references—over 60 pages of notes and sources at the end of the book—and judging by his acknowledgments, it took him a...
  • Cindy H.
    Thank you to NetGalley and WW Norton Publishing for gifting me with an ARC of Blood & Ivy by Paul Collins. In exchange I offer my unbiased review. I absolutely loved this true crime account. Collins skillfully and artistically draws the reader into the mid 19th century and the exclusive halls of Harvard University. In 1849 Dr. George Parkman, a Harvard graduate and benefactor of the esteemed university left his home to run some errands and never ...
  • Thebooktrail
    A real life crime of the century brought to grisly exquisite life!Take your reading scalpel to this one and get dissecting!
  • Graeme Roberts
    An elegant, beautifully structured tale from real life. Fascinating characters, just the right amount of detail, and a crystal-clear evocation of life in the Boston of 1849. I could smell it.Paul Collins is a modern master.
  • Paul
    Blood & Ivy is another smart true crime book from Paul Collins. A slew of new types of evidence for the time and this great subject matter (a case that inspired Dickens!) will engage his existing fans and should bring a legion of new readers. Many thanks to NetGalley, W. W. Norton & Company, and Mr. Collins for the advanced copy for review.Full review can be found here: check out all my reviews: http...
  • Shirley (stampartiste)
    This was my first book by this author, but it won't be my last. Collins took a true crime story that I had never heard of and totally immersed me in the whodunit and the subsequent trial. The story was well researched and exceedingly well told. I was fascinated with the story from beginning to end. This book did not disappoint!
  • Steve
    A very interesting book. In 1849 Boston, a wealthy doctor by the name of George Parkman was last seen at Harvard Medical School. What makes this interesting, Is it became the first case where medical forensics was involved and the meaning of reasonable doubt. A great edge on your seat page-turner!!!!
  • Kari
    For the most part I enjoyed this one. It was kind of cool to read about Cambridge and Boston in the late 1840s. The author did a great job of setting the tone for the true crime story about the murder of a prominent Harvard professor. It was the first case in the US to use dental evidence as well as making a case for reasonable doubt. Worth a read, however it is a little slow.
  • Paulcbry
    The book starts out focusing on cadavers but soon turns into a first rate murder mystery. The trial subsequent to the crime offers up the first clarification of the term 'reasonable doubt'. This is a terrific read from a terrific author. I look forward to more writings from him.
  • Amanda
    Paul Collins sets you squarely in the insular 1840s Harvard, and pages fly by as you're drawn in to the story of how a murder rocked this staid society. I picked up this book having some familiarity with the case, but the whole thing turned out to be so much more than I knew! Recommended for true crime, Harvard/Boston history, or legal history enthusiasts. I received a digital ARC from the publisher via Netgalley.
  • nikkia neil
    Thanks W. W. Norton & Company for this ARC. All opinions are my own. This biography has so many echos into the present. You'll be outraged, engaged, and glued to your seat. Collins is a master at his craft.
  • David Schwinghammer
    BLOOD AND IVY is about a famous murder trial occurring in 1849. What's unusual about it is that a Harvard professor is accused of murdering a famous doctor and real estate landlord.The case was also unique in that there were no eye witnesses but the victim's false teeth were found in a small furnace in the accused's lab. The dentist who made his false teeth took the stand and identified the teeth as those he made for the victim. A handwriting exp...
  • Sue
    Excellent true crime book! Paul Collins has a great narrative style that keeps the story moving. The 1849 murder of a doctor and real estate mogul, as well as the eventual trial, was a sensation in Boston at the time and well worth a retelling of the story. Collins weaves historical information about Harvard, including a scandal involving the stealing of cadavers, skillfully to give us a real feel of the atmosphere surrounding the disappearance a...
  • Steve
    Disclaimer: I received this book from GoodReads' First Reads program.Blood & Ivy is the story of a horrible murder that happened in mid-19th century Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Parkman was making his rounds, collecting payments on debts owed him when he disappeared. A massive search and posted rewards turns up a whole lot of nothing. A janitor who works for one of the professors at Harvard notices something is wrong - one of the walls in the pr...
  • Rosa Tremaine
    In Blood & Ivy: The 1849 Murder that Scandalized Harvard, Paul Collins weaves a complex true crime tale that twists around itself rather like the hangman's noose that casts a long and deadly shadow over the plot. The book begins and ends with Charles Dickens, a device that is both clever and relevant to the context. I had always assumed Dickens to be exaggerating his characters into caricatures of themselves, but the real-life people in Blood & I...
  • Steve
    The story of the 1849 murder of a Harvard medical professor who was then found dismembered in the private privy and laboratory of one Dr. John W. Webster. Webster was deeply in debt and Parkman, the victim, was one of his creditors and was aggressive in asking for remittance. Webster was convicted and executed in 1850 Boston making him the second Harvard alumni to be executed. The first was George Burroughs who was executed for witchcraft in 1692...
  • Judith
    This book is important because it focuses on a court case, obscure I suspect to many Americans, that established the legal definition of "reasonable doubt" and the use of medical forensics. Certainly this case has been much cited. The writing is vivid and detailed and the main characters are described well. However, I think it would be improved by reviewing or detailing what legal jurisprudence used (or perhaps it didn't use anything?) before the...
  • Susan
    What an interesting book. This is so different from normal crime books. First of all, it is wrapped around Harvard, Boston, and Cambridge. And who knew so many of our national treasured authors all were Harvard men. A Harvard man goes missing, and it seems without a trace. A janitor at Harvard has his suspicions about a professor in the medical school. The story works it way through this academic world and ends with a trial. The press has come of...
  • Virginia Van
    A true-crime account of a scandal at Harvard University in 1849 in which Dr. George Parkman, one Boston's richest men, disappeared after last being seen visiting the Harvard Medical School. But worse scandal was to come when Dr. John Webster, noted chemistry professor at the college, was charged with his murder. What resulted was a celebrated trial that became a landmark case in the use of medical forensics and the definition of the concept of re...
  • Danielle
    Dr. George Parkman was a prominent Bostonian who mysteriously went missing in 1849. As detectives try to follow many varied leads to try and find out what happened to them a janitor at Harvard Medical School begins to suspect that Parkman never left the building after he was last seen there. This book didn't do much for me, but I imagine if you a fan of historic true crime books this one would be up your alley.
  • Melissa
    3.5 starsOnce again taking a star off for poor copy editing. I enjoyed this book. It revolves around Harvard and Harvard's out-sized place in Boston society during the mid 1800s as well as showing some far reaching "firsts" in criminal trials that still resonate today. Collins' style is a little jumpy so I can see some readers not enjoying that but if you don't mind the style, this is a great true crime/history read that was clearly well research...
  • Steve
    A very good telling of the murder of Boston landowner Dr. George Parkman and the trial of his Harvard colleague Dr. John Webster for his death. The case was a national news story, and had several firsts which included the use of forensic evidence in a murder trial and Judge Shaw’s definition of “reasonable doubt”, which was used in some cases until this decade.
  • Nancy Gilreath
    In the vein of the Devil in the White City. I would have welcomed more about the murder’s attempts to frame others. I also would have liked a map, and a bit more history. That said, it was an enjoyable read. Having spent a lot of time in the area, I never knew the medical school was located in the West End at one time, and had never heard of the murder before.
  • Lina
    Loved it. Check out the iPhone app “Walking Cinema: Murder on Beacon Hill”Loved it! Check out the iPhone app “Walking Cinema: Murder on Beacon Hill” you can walk and see the actual locations
  • Lauren Albert
    I always enjoy Collins' books. This one was very good at placing you in 1849 Cambridge. It was easy to "know" the characters. That was slightly frightening--to recognize how easily one might know someone just like the murderer or the murdered...
  • Toni Wittus
    I loved this book. This author is truly talented!
  • Leslie Jonsson
    Interesting look at a murder on Harvard campus in the 19th century that may have inspired "The Mystery of Edwin Drood."
  • Jennifer
    Well written, well researched.
  • Lauren Hopkins
    Harvard is the actual epitome of incest.
  • Kyle
    An excellent read telling the true tale of a murder that happened at Harvard. Fascinating read.