Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Kathryn Kelly

Kathryn Kelly by Barbara Casey
Cardinal Publishers Group: 2/1/16
Trade paperback; 196 pages
ISBN-13: 9781939521491

Kathryn Kelly by Barbara Casey is a recommended historical biography of the gun moll Kathryn Kelly, wife of Machine Gun Kelly.

If you have any interest in reading about the criminal activity during the prohibition era, then this would be a good addition to your collection. While many books feature the men involved, there were women who were also career criminals during this time, like Kathryn Kelly, aka Cleo Lera Mae Brooks.

Casey quickly covers the background of both Kathryn and George and highlights their early forays into various illegal activities, with bootlegging being high on the list. It is likely Kathryn who encouraged George to expand his activities to include bank robberies and kidnapping. This escalation eventually resulted in their capture, arrest, and trial.

In 1933 George "Machine Gun" Kelly and his wife Kathryn Kelly went on trial in Oklahoma City for the kidnapping of and holding for $200,000 ransom Oklahoma businessman Charles Urschel. This was a first major case solved by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, now that kidnapping was a federal crime. It was also the first time a trial was allowed to be filmed in a federal courtroom, which made the defendants stars, of a sort, as the nation watched.

Kathryn Kelly includes 16 pages of photographs. As is my wont, I was pleased to see included an epilogue summarizing what happened to others involved in the kidnapping and trial, notes of interest, a bibliography, and index.  This is a well written and researched biography, although it is not exhaustive, it does succinctly provide accurate historical information about Kathryn Kelly.

It is worth noting that in my copy, on page 13, last paragraph mistakenly spells Kathryn as "Katherine." It's an easy mistake to make, but one that should have been corrected. It is also worth mentioning that the font size on this biography is larger than normal which is good news if you like larger print books but a bit disconcerting for the rest of us, as is choosing a different font style for the table of contents. These are little quibbles, but, nonetheless, they do stand out.

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher and iRead Book Tours for review purposes.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you for your review of KATHRYN KELLY: THE MOLL BEHIND MACHINE GUN KELLY. I am delighted that you found Kathryn to be as interesting as I did in writing about her.

My best to you and your bloggers.