Making the Case for Houston Murders

MAKING THE CASE FOR HOUSTON MURDERS Murder & Mayhem in Houston: Historic Bayou City Crime“Houston and New Orleans stand alone as the creepiest cities on the Gulf Coast,” declare Mike Vance and John Nova Lomax. “With its pervasive voodoo ambience, sprawling cities of the dead, air of genteel decay and long history of murder and mayhem, New Orleans is undeniably a spooky town. Fright is a cottage industry there. Having said that, Houston is not far behind. Houstonians just don’t celebrate death and the past the way New Orleanians do.” Their new book, Murder & Mayhem in Houston: Historic Bayou City Crime, attempts to resurrect lesser-known crime stories that have “slipped into the recesses of this city’s gargantuan memory hole, with chapters on the Todville Mansion murder, the Heights House of Horrors, and the Wig Shop Murder. “Local histories have tended to gloss over this city’s dark side,” they write in the book’s preface, “choosing instead to cite the ever-increasing tonnage coming and going from the Houston Ship Channel, the scientific wonders of NASA and the Texas Medical Center, the financial feats of powerful banker-developers like Jesse Jones and the gargantuan deeds of the great oil men. That’s important history to record, but that’s only half of Houston’s story. It’s high time the dark side comes to light.” [The History Press; Amazon]

4 Comment

  • What about the Candy Man? I get shivers just thinking about it.

  • I read this over the weekend. They say up front they won’t include the Candy Man and other well documented, high profile murderers. They wanted to write about less well known cases.
    The content is good if a little slim, but the style gets in the way. There are a lot of awkward similes, like a marriage described as “foundering like a concrete freighter”. Four pages later a defense “sank like a lead balloon”, but one wonders why it didn’t sink like a concrete freighter.
    Oddly, I was wandering around Richmond on Saturday when I happened upon the monument to the Jaybirds slain in the Woodpecker-Jaybird War. I’d never heard of that. When I got home that night there was a section in this book about it. I wish they’d covered that in my Texas History class.

  • Yes, Memebag, I grew up in Richmond and didn’t know of that “war” until it was recently referenced in a “This Day in Texas History” blog. I’ll have to go in search of that marker. If you come back here, let me know where you found it!