A collection of True Crime
The scene is a peaceful suburban setting in an area where trouble rarely calls. Excitement fills the air as a big community event ensues, but in one house there is a studious babysitter quietly reading her books while the radio plays softly and the children in their charge sleeps peacefully upstairs. Nothing seems out of the ordinary until the sitter meets a terrifying and untimely end at the hands of a deranged, usually masked, villain. It’s become something of a trope in horror movies over the decades, with gargantuan figures, such as Michael Myers from the infamous Halloween franchise, preying upon unsuspecting teenagers in unfamiliar locations at the dead of night. But for one teenage girl and her family, this nightmare would become a reality.
I was eager to begin The Disappearance of Evelyn Hartley as this is a case that intrigues me. With all the blood evidence, how can this still be unsolved? I wondered if Ms. Morton could answer some of those questions. Could she bring something new—presenting a new theory on what happened the fateful night of October 24, 1953?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. The Disappearance of Evelyn Hartley is a collection of true crime stories. It doesn't feature solely on Ms. Hartley as I had initially thought when I read the novel's summary on Amazon. This doesn't bother me as much as I love to read true crime. However, it might with someone who wants to learn just about Hartley. People who are interested in the other cases might not even know this book is a collection as the title and the cover features Ms. Hartley.
The collection started out well-written. It was easy to follow along with, but shortly after the second true crime story, I feel the writing became obtuse. Ms. Morton seemed to delight in showing off her large vocabulary—most often having a detrimental effect on the story. Towards the middle of The Disappearance of Evelyn Hartley, some facts got muddied. For instance, when talking about paint chips that were found on jeans that supposedly belonged to Ms. Copsey, she stated that Boley had a red Porche. In fact, it was Achziger who painted a Porche red and sold it to another person.
I would recommend The Disappearance of Evelyn Hartley to those who are new to True Crime who want the stories featured in the this novel in one place. This collection is “just the facts”, but you can find most of the information (newspaper clippings, diary entries, etc) online through Google.